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Iranian Oral Histoy: interview with General Pakravan's wife Print E-mail

 Iranian Oral History Project | Harvard University Center for Middle Eastern Studies

    Fatemeh Pakravan

    Wife of Gen. Hassan Pakravan (Chief of the State Intelligence and Cabinet Minister)

    Audio
    To listen to the interview click on the link below:
    Audio 1a | Audio 1b

 

Narrator: Fatemeh Pakravan
Date: March 3, 1983
Place: Paris, France
Interviewer: Habib Ladjevardi

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Q. Mrs. Pakravan, if I could ask you to begin this interview by giving a little background about yourself and the deceased General Pakravan; and then if you could take us to the time when he became the director of the Security Organization in Iran.

A. What kind of background do you want? Do you mean my studies and things like that?

Q. Well, things that you think would be interesting.

A. Well, it's not really interesting. I was educated in France since childhood and went back to Iran. I had what they call paramedical studies, and on my return to Iran I became the head of a hospital, which belonged to the Mossadegh family.

Q. Najmiyeh Hospital?

A. Najmiyeh Hospital. I met my husband and married him in 1941. He was a captain at the time. Then ... well we had four children. And what is important, I think, is that, after a stay in Pakistan where my husband was the first military attache of Iran, and following a long, very long, visit that the late Shah made to Pakistan, my husband started what I would call, a political-military career. That means that he was appointed Chief <of the> G-2 General Staff, which at that time was different from what it became later on. And every service had separate and independent, more or less, headquarters.

After a while that he worked there, first as assistant and then as director -- although he was much too young.... He was a full <unclear> only one year and he was quite young at the time; that was in 1950 -- he must have been thirty-nine. He accepted the job, first of all, because as an officer he thought that he mustn't discuss the decisions, and also because he had a very idealistic conviction about intelligence work. For him intelligence work never, never, never was something consisting only <of> spying on people and trying to catch them at something wrong. It was to know exactly who was trying to subvert different classes or even the country; and to somehow, either by conviction, by talking to them, or by human needs, trying to change their opinion.

I remember when he was Chief G-2, it coincided with the period -- some time in the period -- when Mr. Mossadegh was prime minister and also minister of defense. That's something people keep on forgetting, that Dr. Mossadegh as minister of defense governed practically all the time under martial law. This is something again that people have forgotten. And also, that actually it was Dr. Mossadegh who put the seed of what came to be known as SAVAK.

Q. Did he?

A. Yes. Because he established -- you know at the time the Communist Party, the Persian Communist Party called the Tudeh, was extremely active because the Russians had hardly left Azarbaijan and the so-called democracy, republics, that they had instituted in Kurdestan and Azarbaijan, and were extremely strong. And Mossadegh was well aware of the danger it represented to have these people infiltrating every activity in the country. So he established something called the National Council of Security, presided <over> by himself and the head<s> of the three services (the army, navy, and air force) and the head of the police department (gendarmerie), and the Chief G-2 -- that was my husband. Of course, my husband was very junior and he never opened his mouth. Well, that will be for another time, his impression of Dr. Mossadegh.

But I remember asking Gholam-Hossein Mossadegh, the son, I said, "How come that my husband -- whenever there is ... something happens, your father immediately changes all the military chiefs and he never touched my husband? Does he know that this Colonel Pakravan is my husband? You better ask him." Then he told me the next day, "No, he didn't know if he was your husband, but he said, 'I will never change him. I know him <to be> absolutely loyal to the Shah. But I know also that he has absolute respect for the law of the country. And because of that, I know he'll never start something against me, who is the legal, legitimate prime minister of the country.'"

I think that at the time, later on in the late 50s -- '52 -- I think there must have been already plans to upset Mossadegh. My husband was not in these plans, but he was worried because in his job, naturally, he knew rumors and things like that; and the Shah didn't confide in him. Because I think that the Shah -- this is, by the way, an explanation -- was extremely enthusiastic about my husband. But after awhile, it seemed that his views were not ... how shall I say ... he wasn't for security for security's sake, but to something more ... bigger. I wouldn't say liberal, because in America the word liberal has a very bad meaning, which it has not in French. In French, it means a man who is a democrat.

And anyway, my husband was terribly worried and he insisted that I and the children -- at that time I had only three children -- should go to France, where my husband was established; he lived here. And I refused, but he insisted. Then after a while, he came to Paris on the invitation of the French general staff. And also he received word that he was appointed assistant military attache until August or July -- I don't remember, you know, the Persian -- when the Mossadegh government was...

Q. August '53.

A. That's right, was upset. Very shortly after that, my husband was recalled back to Iran.

Q. When did he come to Paris as a...?

A. He came into Paris in May...

Q. In May of '53.

A. '52.

Q. Two. I see, so all during the year preceding the....

A. That was because there was a long-standing invitation from the French general staff. Because my husband, being of high military rank, and <that> he was of entirely French education, so he was very well known among the army here. (Actually, I have to complete that somehow.) But the chief-of-staff, who was <General> Baharmast at the time in Iran, refused to let him go -- although he pretended to be like a father, and this and that. And eventually I appealed to Gholam-Hossein Mossadegh, and I said, "Look here, everybody goes to Europe at the expense of the government. Now here, my husband has been here for twenty years. He has a very, very difficult job. He's tired; he's demoralized. He's invited; it doesn't cost you anything." So Mossadegh was very nice and he let him go.

Now shall I tell you about my husband's education here? Well, he came to.... First, his father was diplomatic agent, because at the time Egypt was under a British protectorate so he was a kind of an ambassador for ten years in Egypt, where my husband received his education at the French school. Then he went to lycee....

Q. In Cairo?

A. In Cairo, Alexandria and Cairo. He went to Belgium and he went to high school in Liege. After he finished his high school, he went to the university to start service for ... to train for engineer. But his father was very close (I wouldn't say friend, but shall we say ... I mean, close) to Reza Shah and wanted him to go for military studies, because Reza Shah was trying to modernize the Persian army, and he wanted the sons of good families to be trained as officers for this army. So my husband went to Poitiers which was an artillery school, and from there he went to Fontainebleau to a higher artillery school (which doesn't exist anymore) -- it was called Ecole des Caissons d'Artillerie. And he graduated from there and went back to Iran to the cadet academy, where he was commanding a -- what you call -- CateshbarD, gun. He trained young officers, young cadets, for artillery. So, all the friends he had in these two schools, they were progressing in their careers and then had left the army. But still, my husband had many, many friends.

Anyway, he came to Paris in May '52 -- '53, sorry, in May '53 (I think I made a mistake) -- and it was twenty years since his last trip to Paris. And he ... in August, there was this uprising ... of which I am still not absolutely convinced that it was only the job of the CIA. It's now the custom, and even the fashion, to say that in 1953 the Shah was established on his throne through the CIA. Probably it was because you can deny that. But there was also great popular feeling, of that I'm absolutely sure, although I wasn't there, but I'm saying that from ... information I received.

Anyway, after ... I think in September, my husband was recalled back to his job. The conditions of his job had changed. Because I think that already at the time ... perhaps there were some convictions, some belief that one has to be very, very, very strict about ... security and information. Not that my husband wasn't, you see -- I don't want this to be misunderstood -- but in a more, how shall I say, technical way, less human. And anyway, my husband ... I don't know, really, because he never said anything about his job except things that he could tell anyone.

He resigned in the spring of 1954 -- so after a few months. And he wanted even to resign from the army. But the Shah, who liked him very much, said, "I know that Pakravan likes to be abroad. I give him, I propose him a job either in Switzerland as military attache or in Pakistan or India." My husband chose India because Pakistan ... it was silly to return there after a few years and Switzerland was much too expensive and the army wasn't ... the officers were not paid that much. So we went to India and we liked it very much, both of us.

But in October of 1956, he was called to Tehran. He was called to Tehran and he stayed two weeks and he came back very enthusiastic. My husband was a very, very enthusiastic man. He was ... it doesn't mean that he was stupid, he was certainly the most learned and most good man and very intelligent. I will show you, for instance, one of the great French journalists, Andre Fontaine <?>, what he has written about him in his book, and many people know that he was something very exceptional.

Anyway, he came back. He was very enthusiastic. He said, "We're returning back to Iran." I said, "Oh, no, no, no, no! Please. We will stay. We still have two more years here." He said, "I'll tell you why. They have set up a new organization which is fantastic. And they're offering me the head of the foreign department of this organization." I said, "Did you...?" I didn't know what it was, you know. He said, "It's an overall organization that will look after security and information." And here, in his idea, security and information go together -- you cannot have security if you don't have information. And he said, "And besides, you know, I am a little bit cut off from everything. After all, I'm an officer, and it's so pleasant to work with brother officers." He still had some illusions at the time.

Anyway, we went back. We went back. And he was ... Alavi-Kia must have told you that the organization was two services, two departments: the interior ... the internal and external. Hassan was external, and they were completely separate from each other -- that means there was a real wall. Because many times when the question arose of this and that, my husband really didn't know -- because he did know in a general way, but he didn't know for sure because they were not exchanging <information>. And as it was <unclear>, something that my husband knew was important for the internal situation or <unclear> for the external situation.

And it was the time I met <Teimour> Bakhtiar. I found him a very shy person.

Q. Really?

A. Really! I remember we invited him, for he wanted to meet some people. I invited him to dinner at our house, which was very modest, but not as modest as his. And he was always like that, like a little boy. He gave you the impression of the wild tribal chieftain, although he was educated. But I don't think his education had changed him as a person. You know, sometimes education is very superficial. Sometimes it changes thoroughly a person because it gives reflection and a philosophical point of view. Anyway, he was very shy with ladies -- although from what we hear, he wasn't.

And I wouldn't know, really, how he came to resign. I can only tell you what my husband said to me. Bakhtiar and my husband had gone to London for a meeting -- you know, they had all the time these meetings of branches of RCD <Regional Cooperation & Development> sent ... oh, to here and there and everywhere. And, while there, they went to a doctor, a heart specialist at Harley Street, called Dr. Courtney Evans. Because it was a time when the pressure of work started to give heart attacks to many people everywhere; you know, you always heard so-and-so had a heart attack and all that. So they went to have a checkup, and the doctor made a checkup, and he said, "You know, it doesn't mean a thing, because the heart attack, you can have a checkup perfectly all right and you go past my door and you drop dead." Anyway, from what my husband told me, and I don't have any reason to disbelieve him, at that time Bakhtiar started to worry about his possible heart attack. Now, I don't know, in view of what happened later, if it was just a smoke screen, or he really was -- perhaps it was the two.

Q. They both had this checkup or Bakhtiar had the checkup?

A. Both of them. Yes. My husband was very amused because he said Dr. Evans examined him for a full hour. Then he came back to Iran and he saw a heart specialist who said exactly the same thing in five minutes as Evans said, "You know, I cannot prevent you from having, but what you can have is certain hygiene in your life. You must stop smoking, you mustn't put <on> weight, and you must have exercise. If you do that, you'll lessen the risk." Anyway, it was my husband who had the heart attack later.

So they came back, and from that moment -- that must have been in the early '60s -- that Bakhtiar started to say, "Oh well, I am...." -- or '59, perhaps '60, I don't remember, I have a very bad head for dates. "Oh, you know..." he pretended to confide to my husband, he said he was very impressed by my husband. Many people were, you know. My husband was a very, very easy approach and very courteous and very charming person. Somehow ... his mother used to say, you know, "In Iran, virtue, real virtue is admired although not practiced." And he was admired because everybody said he is so wonderful, because it was easier to admire than to practice, you know ... honesty, all this and that. Anyway ... and it used to make him laugh because he had a great sense of humor.

Eventually, Bakhtiar said, "You know, I am fed up with this job. What's the point?" You know, this kind of conversation. "What's the point. You work, you work, you work, and then suddenly you drop dead and all you have done is as nothing. I must resign. I must do this." At one time even -- I think, I'm not sure -- he said, "I would like to be ambassador in some quiet place."

Anyway, my husband was away -- where was he, he was in Turkey, I think for CENTO or RCD, something like that -- when suddenly he was recalled back. Bakhtiar ... Alavi-Kia told me. Now, at the time the Chief <of G-2> was a certain General Kia, who had a very, very bad reputation. And what I'm saying now to you ... I think it was my husband who told me, perhaps also General Malek -- but not Malek.... My husband was recalled. I remember that it was so complicated to come back from Turkey: he had to go to Europe to catch a plane and come, and he was kept waiting for 48 hours before the Shah received him. And he said the Shah told him, in a very business-like way, "Bakhtiar is resigning. I wanted to make changes in the upper level of the army. My intention was to make you chief of G-2 instead of Kia. But now that Bakhtiar has resigned, I want you to take his place." And my husband, I must say, was overcome because it was a terrible responsibility.

Q. He wasn't anxious to have this job?

A. No, he wasn't. And so he asked for a short period of reflection. And the Shah said, "All right, take time and give me ... but don't be too long in deciding." So my husband came home, and that he discussed with me. He said, "You know, I have a conviction that I can do much good in this job. It all depends on my ... who is going to work with me, if I have a free hand." And he was walking up and down, up and down, all the time. And I said, "You know, the most important thing is that really you say that you can be of use, then okay." And of course, in the last resort he took the decision himself.

So he asked for an interview and he went and saw the Shah. And he said that, "Your Majesty, you should know me. You know my ideas, you know my education, you know my convictions. I don't have to define them to you, but one of my convictions is that you cannot ensure security in a country by fear. You can only ensure it by making life ... not easy, but give them security, to people, and for the poorest. Not the upper class, because they always manage to settle and to organize their life, but people who have absolutely no recourse to anywhere."

And the Shah said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Well, I think that the economical welfare will broaden this question of security. If people are happy, if people are satisfied -- and they don't want much, they want the means to earn their living, the means to educate their children, the means to look after their well-being and health -- that's all they want, people are very modest. The Shah said, "All right. It's a point of view. I'll give you the means to apply your methods and we'll see."

So, he reorganized, first of all, the Organization of Security and Information. And he said that, "It wasn't ... there was no point in having one external, one internal department because the two were so mixed together; we have to have all information, have a pool." Then, of course, what he did ... he started to establish a fantastic library and insisted that the people, all the officials from the smallest to the highest, reads. And also they had training -- training in history, training in philosophy, training in security, training in all the subjects that could be related to the necessity of ensuring the security of the country.

Of course, later on he became a little bit bitter in his humor, and when one of the young men <Parviz Sabeti> that he had educated and was wonderful, everybody admired him, became a horrible fellow under Nasiri, so horrible that I refused to sit beside him at a dinner, I told him, I asked my husband, I said, "But how come? He was one of your trainees. He was so wonderful. Everybody loved him." He said, "Moghtaziyat-e zaman," it can be translated in this way, that you act in a certain manner when the fashion is to act like that. When it's out of fashion, well, you go after the new fashion. So if under Pakravan it is democracy and humanity, and <under> another one it is oppression and torture and things like that, all right you go after that, because this is that.

One of the things that my husband used to say after he finished, after he left that <SAVAK>, he said, "You know, I think..." He was never boasting, I must say that, because everything I'll tell from him, I don't want it to give you the impression that he was boasting. It was just a fact that he recognized. He said, "You know, I think that in three thousand ... in all the history of Asia, I am practically the only fool that never practiced torture." And he used to laugh and say, "My prisons are like four-star hotels." And it was confirmed because I remember Allahyar Saleh was sick and he was taken to the hospital. Well, he was ... he came from prison to the hospital, and he used to say, "I don't want to see anybody except my dear General Pakravan." You know, he was respected and all that.

Anyway he started, for instance, the economic things that he wanted to ... that he started. One was to make the COstandariD of Banader, that was the governorship of the Persian Gulf ports and harbors, which were ... you couldn't call them ports and harbors because they were just fishing, small fishing <villages> except for a few. And he said that, "We cannot have them dependent from another governorship, because they're not interesting. They're poor. They produce nothing. They're practically, not savages, but I mean very primitive people. They have small tribal organizations which fight each other all the time." He did that because, as a chief, he was at one time (this I mustn't forget), he was at one time political officer and also civil governor in Boushehr. At the time the British were in Boushehr, they had their political agent there. At the time it was Geoffrey Pryor.

And my husband was horrified to see in what conditions people lived. That was when he was very, very young. That was, let me see, I was expecting ... in 1945. So he had seen that from close. He saw the fighting and the killing between these tribes.

I'm sorry to go back all the time.

Q. No, no, it's fine. No problem.

A Then, he also established .. in the early '60s there was a terrible earthquake around Qazvin. And we had a friend who was half-American -- her mother was American and her father was Iranian -- Mehri Gharagozlou.

So we had this friend, half-American, half-Iranian, Mehri Gharagozlou, who had been, before the agrarian reform, one of the important landowners in Hamadan. She had married a Bakhtiari chieftain. She knew practically all the languages of the tribes. She was an extraordinary women. And when this earthquake happened, because she was interested in it, she saved the day for many, many peasants because she was the only one who, as an agriculturalist, knew that the most important thing was not to give them kettles and pots and pans, but it was autumn, was to plow the land and to sow to ensure the next harvest -- otherwise, they would die of hunger.

And because she did that in such an intelligent way, my husband said, "Mehri, I'm going to entrust to you the well-being of all the tribes." But he didn't want her to be attached to his organization, so she was attached to the Ministry of Housing, the head of which was Dr. Nahavandi, who liked and admired my husband very much, so he accepted that. And also they started building very nice houses with bazaars and mosques in the south of Tehran, which was horrible. People were living in hovels, in <unclear>, where they had taken, you know ... they had <unclear> the land and all that. It was very bad.

And so it went until the Khomeini business started. It started in a very insidious way, by preachings in the mosques. And photographs of this man -- he was in Tehran -- photographs of this man everywhere. I remember asking a little ... a family who had not exactly an antique shop, a junk shop -- people used to go there and find something. I said, "Why do you put this, put all these pictures?" He said, "He's someone to imitate" -- CMarja'e TaghlidD <a religious leader to follow>. And I'd never heard that before. I said, "You don't need to imitate someone. If you live in your religion, if you practice a good life, you don't need to imitate him." That was the feeling, you know.

And women were looked at because they were not wearing the veil. And unfortunately, what started also, I think, a little bit later, was the mini-skirt for ladies, and Iranian women for that were really scattered-brained: any fashion that came -- one day it was skirts sweeping the floor, the next day it was really practically naked.

Anyway, my husband saw these religious preachers, Falsafi, Shari'atmadari, and whoever. I remember at one time they were to come every day. There was this enormous attendance in our house. My husband talked to them, and he said, "Please, if you have anything, why don't you go to the proper authorities? Why make people ... I mean, madden people and try to subvert them and to prod and all that? What are you going to gain by that? I have the authority to stop you, but don't let me use the means that are at my disposal. Please, remember, you are Iranians, this is your country. Please think about the results of your present action, which is absolutely thoughtless. What do you think you will achieve? What do you think you will obtain?"

Of course the thing that made religious people mad, starting with Khomeini and the rest who, because they thought they will gain something ... was this agrarian reform. Here I again have to say something which is not directly related to things. Arsanjani did a lot of wrong to the country, because he was the one, not much later after Mossadegh, he was the one who really put the seed of class hatred in Iran, when he said, "bloodthirsty landowner". And that friend of mine, Mehri Gharagozlou, when she rang me up, she said, "This is Cmalek-e khounkharD speaking" ("This is the bloodthirsty landowner speaking").

And he ... they also were not very clear about this agrarian reform. They started by saying it will be only the big landowners, the big absent landowners. Okay? So the rest, I mean the average and the small and the middle and all that, the <unclear>, they said, "Well, never mind, he's not...." Then after a few months, it was the middle ones. So it went by steps to the point of a man who had two acres of land was practically sure to be kicked out of his land. And so, seeing he was not escalating <?>, but going down, down, down, down, reaching the smallest landlord....

The mullahs and the religious people were afraid for what they called religious endowments. Because all the sanctuaries and shrines were extremely rich -- most of them. For instance in Emam Reza, Shah Abdol-Azim, Shah Cheragh -- all the shrines, they were extremely rich because people donated land, money, jewels, precious antiques, rugs. They would donate anything. And actually who took advantage of all these donations, it was the mullah. They had ... in some cases when it was too obvious, like Mashhad, they had hospitals, they had orphanages, they had all kinds of charitable activities, but still the greatest part of all these benefits went to themselves. Naturally, they spent also.... But I think even they didn't spend for the upkeep of the shrines. I think it was the government in his -- what was that?-- the endowment organization, Oghaf, who did that.

So, little by little we reached the summer of ... June 1962? '63?

Q. '63.

A. '63 -- I'm always mixing up the dates -- when it was the <month of> Moharram and they had these processions, religious processions. This started, really invited people to rise. It was a proper, not revolution, but the beginning of it. And what they did in order ... because the army was alerted, was put in the street, was to put small children in front of the procession so nobody could do anything. And under the pretense of religious processions, they went and really broke everything in sight -- even the telephone booths, the benches, the shops. Everything, anything, anything.

Naturally the government has to react. And my husband did something which was certainly wrong from a Persian point of view, because sometimes ... he forgot that he had to deal with orientals -- orientals not in the sense of America, far <eastern> oriental, no extreme oriental, I mean Japanese, but people from the East, the Easterners let's say -- whose mind does not evolve in the same way. I don't say it's wrong, I mean that you have to talk their own language. Why Khomeini succeeded this time -- because he speaks the language of the people -- and why the other gentlemen don't succeed because they speak in a too complicated way, too literal, literate.

So he went, he always had this sense.... Now when I say he made a mistake, in my opinion, because even intellectuals, even educated people didn't understand what he meant to do. He spoke on the radio, and exactly what he said is written in my mind. He said, "I came...." Because there was after that the army took over and there was of course, I think, plenty of reprisals. He said, "Everything is my fault." (Although he had ... he didn't order ... do anything ... the army took over and all that.) "Because for months and months I spoke. Most of my activity consisted in speaking with the religious heads of this country in order to convince them to obtain whatever they wanted, or what there was they criticized, through talks, through consultation, to remember that they were Iranians, not to put the country in danger. That was my mistake and I'm sorry that I didn't know what kind of people they were. That I was sincere and they were not." And of course everybody said, "Poor Pakravan, he made a mistake so he came and..." It wasn't that at all. What he said, he said, "They were not worth my time -- my losing time to try to persuade them not to act that way." Anyway, here I....

Q. Well, why did he do this? Why did he make this radio broadcast. It's unusual for the head of a security agency to....

A. I know it's unusual. Because he was ... he was ... his opinion was that first of all, as often as possible .. you could ... you must tell the truth to the population of a country because you must have some respect for them, for them as adults, not as stupid idiots who don't understand anything except ... the <?>. Then he wanted to show to the people, to the population who had followed these people, that these religious, these mullahs were not sincere. That whatever they had promised to him -- because they had made promises: "Yes, General, you are absolutely right. We'll do exactly, we admire you, we respect you...." He wanted to show them, so that they wouldn't follow. <He wanted to tell the people, "You were duped by these people, they didn't tell you the truth, they didn't mind you being killed. They put your children in front of their processions. If the army had not received orders not to shoot, your small children aged from seven to twelve would have been killed." That was what he meant: that you have been duped by these people. "If they didn't want ... if they refused to accept what I told them, what I asked them to do, they should have said no. They should have stood their ground."

Another thing my husband hated was lack of courage. One day I remember there were some close people, some people close to the Shah, who wanted also to mix him in some hanky-panky. And when they saw it was not so good, they begged a friend, a common friend, to meet Hassan, my husband, and to discuss the thing. And they started, "You know, Teamsar <General>, we didn't really want to do that, we didn't want to make a revolution." And my husband looked at them. He said, "You know, you nauseate me." They were very surprised because they were important people. I was there. He said, "You know, you nauseate me because you want to subvert this country. But the moment you see that your safety might be in danger, you crawl." He said, "You don't have the courage." He said, "At least have the courage of your opinions and your actions. Be a man." He was disgusted by people who, you know, would like to do something and then when they saw that you stood your ground, they crawl.

Anyway, that was that. Now here I'm not very clear exactly on the ... because I was working, you know. I was working at the time myself. I always worked in Iran. So, I wasn't ... how shall I say? ... I didn't have the same interest. I was interested, I won't say that, but I wasn't exactly political-minded, because like many royalists -- you know, people who think not particularly this Shah or another Shah, but the idea of royalty in a country, the regime of royalty in a country -- prevents you from being from left or right or middle or anything. You just want the regime to be there. Of course you want to improve it. You want to see it ... you want to see it improved on. You don't want things to stay exactly as they are. But you are not political-minded as in Europe or America.

Anyway, so I will sum up. You have to recoup with somebody else. Khomeini was arrested. He was arrested in his house and taken.... No, no, no. He was arrested and taken into a villa, because the organization <SAVAK> had several villas when they received foreign guests like CENTO, or conferences and things like that.

And another thing which is interesting is during the time of my husband, nobody ever said "SAVAK", except inside, you know, the people who worked there, I guess for shortness, said "SAVAK". Outside it was always "Organization of Security and Information". I never heard the word SAVAK. I remember making fun of them. I said, "It's ridiculous. SAVAK sounds like an Armenian first name." And I think there are Armenians called Savak. I said, "Why? I don't like <it>."

Anyway, he was put in this villa, and I went back to Tehran.... No, in the summer of '78 my husband told me a few things, and also a servant we had. Because the organization had a club, very nice club, where we used to give receptions or conferences, and all that. And I had with me an orderly I had taken with me to India so that he would speak Persian to the children, and then I had trained him as a butler, as a cook -- he was a very good butler. So when they started this club, they didn't have trained personnel, so he went there. And he told me in the summer of '78 that Khomeini was in this villa and he was taken up to him.

He said, "But you were told to pretend not to know that he was Khomeini." So I asked him how it was. He said, "Well, he was very courteous, very nice. Every morning when I came, I would greet him, and he would greet me very nicely, and would say, 'What's new in the town?'" And he said, "One day there had been some upset in the city, so I told him there was some upset yesterday. He said, 'Why?'" He <the butler> said, "Because Ayatollah Khomeini had distributed some tracts." And he <Khomeini> said in a very nice way, "Can you give me a copy of this tract?" I <butler> said, "Yes sir." He <butler> rushed and brought it. He <Khomeini> really shook his head and he said, "I never wrote that!" I said, "Oh, you are the Ayatollah?" He said, "Yes, my child. I am the Ayatollah." That is what this ex-servant of mine told me.

My husband told me, he said, "You know, I had lunch every week with Ayatollah." I said, "Yes, I knew that but you never told me what was the atmosphere of these meetings." He said, "Very good, very cordial. Very friendly." He said, "Ayatollah used to say, you know in this very flowery eastern way, you know, 'Teamsar <General>, I count the days until we reach our lunch day.'" I said, "How was he?" He said, "He was very handsome." And I'm sure he's not as old as they say. I'll tell you why. He's very handsome. He has extraordinary presence, a power of seduction." He said, "You know, he had a great charisma." You know, it's a word that is used very often now -- charismatic, charisma and all that -- but actually in the Christian religion it's applied only to the whole spirit, because charisma means presents and also gifts. Okay.

I said, "What was the object of your conversation? What did you talk about?" He said, "Well, about religion, about philosophy, about history." I said, "Is he a very learned man?" He said, "Well, his religion, I cannot say because I'm not a religious person. I suppose he is because he is a specialist." "But," he said, "his ignorance in history and philosophy is something unbelievable." You know, the man who said America has oppressed Iran for the last twenty-five thousand centuries. He said, "He's very, very, very ignorant." I said, "But what ... struck you in him, what did you find was the most striking aspect of his temperament or his character?" He said, "His ambition." I said, "Ambition? What do you mean ambition? What kind of ambition, political, religious?" He said, "I couldn't find out because he's very secretive." But he said, "You know, it made my hair stand on my head. It was frightening."

Q. This was in 1963?

A. Yes. He said, "It was frightening." And after that, well, I know that Khomeini was sent ... because you know that in the beginning....

Q. He told you this ... when?

A. In '78. In '78 he started to tell me several things which he never said about his job. And you know that one of the things in the light of this adverse propaganda was that Khomeini had been rolled into a carpet, thrown into a sack, a bag, and taken to prison. It's not true. My husband was.... It was ... in '78 it was a time when you could not deny or try to ... simply be murdered at all these lies, because everybody believed them. Everybody believed every lie, even the burning of the Cinema Rex.

But at that time, I had said, "So, darling, he wasn't rolled into a carpet and taken?" He said, "Nonsense. We asked the Turks to be kind enough to accept him." And he said, "We gave him the red-carpet treatment. Then from there he wrote a very, very respectful letter to the Shah" -- this is a well-known fact -- 'allow me to go to Najaf, I want to study,'" and all that.

Now here is something I've learned recently from someone I can trust absolutely. He said, "You know that...." Well, everybody knows that my husband saved ... Khomeini was condemned to death. You know that?

Q. I had heard, I didn't know this specifically.

A. All right. He was condemned to death and my husband was very, very upset by that. He said he knew that after all, the population of the country is not its elite, it's the real people. These are not very literate. They are not very ... they are simple. They are full of superstition. And even though most of the Iranians have no respect for the mullahs, they still have for what they represent. So he tried to convince the Shah: "Please commute this." The Shah said, "No, no, no." And my husband insisted. The Shah said, "All right. But how?" After all, contrary to what people think, the Shah wasn't a despot, he said, "After all, he was condemned by a tribunal. I cannot go over the tribunal. Find a way, a legal way."

My husband was on very good terms with Shari'atmadari. So he went to see Shari'atmadari and said, "Please, do something." And Shari'atmadari said, "You know the only way is to make him Ayatollah." So, they made a religious decree, which is called Fatva, to make him Ayatollah -- which he wasn't. And this was taken by my husband and Seyyed-Jalal Tehrani to the Shah. And Seyyed-Jalal Tehrani said afterwards, "It was the only time I kissed the Shah's hand, so much I begged him."

And the Shah said, "All right. And then what are your plans for him? You're not going to let him continue what he wants to do?" My husband said, "No, he should be sent to a far-away village, small village, where we can control his movements and control the people who go to see him, and after a while he'll be forgotten." He gave the example of another Ayatollah ... Qomi or something like that, who at one time wanted to make trouble and was exiled inside the country. This is very important.

And Amir-Asadollah Alam was prime minister. He said, "No, let's send him away." And somehow he convinced the Shah. And my husband said to the Shah, he said, "You know, you're giving him the means. You give him an international platform." The Shah said, "No, no. I think he promises that he will keep quiet." And of course, rumor is that <Sheikh-Sadegh> Khalkhali was sent as a mullah, because there were many mullahs in the pay of the organization <SAVAK>, apparently, that he was sent there too, but I don't believe it. Anyway, so Khomeini was sent there.

I asked my husband that summer of '78 how he came to know Khomeini. Because in that summer of '78 ... my husband at the time was working in the ... had a position in the Ministry of Court. He came one day very thoughtful and a bit sarcastic. I said, "What's the matter?" He said, "You know, I had a visitor today." (That was in '78.) "And who was he?" He said, "A friend of Khomeini, who came to see me to say, 'Please, Teamsar, go to Paris. Talk to Ayatollah Ozma. You are the only one that he would listen to.'" My husband said, "You're mistaken. He will listen to nobody." "Then let me go." Because at the time, I don't know, <General Gholam-Reza> Azhari said nobody should go. "Let me ... get me permission to go and get me a message from His Majesty for Ayatollah."

My husband said, "I cannot do that." Because it was the time when they had put horrible ... put a montage of the Queen in the most insulting, in the most obscene way. He said, "You are a Moslem. You know that the wife of the Moslem is sacred for him. Nobody has the right to say anything. Do you think the Shah, after his wife, the mother of his children, has been publicly insulted, and been insulted night and day, will give a message of friendship to Ayatollah? You're greatly mistaken. But I can grant you permission to go." So he went, naturally. He wasn't received there. From what I hear he was executed. That was Haj-Roghani.

And my husband said, "It's through him that I met Khomeini." He said, "At the time he started, in the early '60s, before June '63 ... at the time he started, you know, in some very insidious way to subvert people, I was very mad, I was very annoyed because they had big projects, you know. They wanted to really execute these big projects instead of having to deal with a few mad mullahs." And so Haj-Roghani came and said, "Teamsar, I think...." Because this man, Haj-Roghani, was a very peaceful man. He was terribly upset by fighting and, you know, unpleasantness. He was always trying to bring people together so that they will explain, talk to each other, and all that. So he came to my husband -- that was in '60, end of '60 -- "Let me take you to Ayatollah, to Emam, to Mr. Khomeini." (I don't want to use that name) "He's very good, he's very intelligent, you'll like him." And this Haj-Roghani was a merchant, a bazaar merchant of Qom. Later he came into Tehran.

So my husband said, "Okay." He went all the way to Qom, which is 150 kilometers, I think -- 120. He said, "We went there. He came. He explained his position. I explained mine. And there was no...."

Q. Common ground...

A. "...point of meeting. He stood on his position and I stood on my position because what he was saying was ridiculous. They had all their propaganda on the fact that the religious movement will be taken back by the government. "And of course, with that, they said that the government doesn't want to please the peasants who cultivated this land, but wanted to grab everything for himself ... for themselves. And also that the women will be turned into soldiers. The girls will be turned into soldiers, and naturally all morality of the ... classic morality of the Persian girl would disappear, and it would become a country of completely immoral people." Unfortunately they did that in the end. Not the way he said, but they had these units.

So ... the page was turned and life went on. Everything was calmed down again. Don't forget that we had these days, these upheavals and uprisings, all the time. My sister gave me letters -- my sister is married to an American -- letters I wrote her in the '40s, and we always had uprisings and killings and martial law. It's a very, very violent country, contrary to what people say.

In 1965, if you remember, January of '65, my husband was away in Kurdestan.

Q. I'm sorry, there a few minutes left on this tape and I'd like to come back to a point. Then when did he leave SAVAK?

A. I was coming to that.

Q. Sorry.

A. My husband was on a mission to Kurdestan. There was some, I don't know....

Q. '65?

A. '65, January '65. Some unrest. I personally was with Mr. Pahlbod, the minister of fine arts. And we had a meeting ... for some reason ... I don't know, and he never appeared. And we asked the head of his staff, "Where is His Excellency?" He received a secret telephone call, he became pale and said, "Well, His Excellency will not be able to come." And that was ... the Ministry of Fine Arts is behind, I mean it's quite close on the Majles, on the Parliament Square in Tehran.

Well, I came home and then when I reached ... my office (I was working at the National Tourist Organization, I was the head of research and planning for tourism), my husband telephoned to me -- no, no, my husband didn't telephone me. Everybody, the whole office was.... I said, "What's happened?" "They've killed Mansour, Hassan-Ali Mansour." He was coming from the Parliament and somebody killed him, but you know.... Ten bullets, I think it was. I was horrified, "My god, we're going to have a revolution. My husband is not here." I rushed to my house. I asked the driver to go and fetch the children and "let's go into our house and be safe there." Eventually nothing happened. My husband arrived by plane. And he became minister of information. Not immediately. Hoveida became prime minister.

And we went to the hospital. As you know, Mansour wasn't killed, he was ... they tried to keep him ... for seven days. Of course, even if he had been cured, he would have been like a vegetable. They brought Professor Sikal <?>. Professor Sikal, whom I met here when my husband was ambassador, was ... he became a kind of friend. He never, never, never, never said what exactly happened, what was his diagnosis. And Madam Hassan Ali Mansour, Farideh, when she saw my husband, she went into his arm and she cried and she said -- I don't know what she said.... But when Nasiri came, who was head of the police, she said, "I don't want to see this man. It's all his fault." She might have accused my husband not to have been ... because it was also part of his job to know the situation.

Anyway, Mansour died, Hoveida became prime minister, and my husband became minister of information. And of course, very wide the rumor was that he will be ... he will have the two jobs. I said, "It's ridiculous. You cannot be minister of information and also head of the Organization of Security. It doesn't go together."

Q. So, for a while he had both jobs?

A. No, no, not at all. The rumor, the public rumor, had it. Because you know, they admired my husband, even the public. You know, when he became head of the so-called SAVAK, they said, "Emam Hossein Ra'is-e SAVAK shod" (Emam Hossein has become chief of SAVAK). He was greatly admired. And he always used to say, "No, no, no. If people knew me, they would never admire me" -- because he had this sense of humor.

Q. Why did he leave SAVAK? What happened?

A. What happened? I can only tell you this. In my opinion, the Shah thought, the Shah didn't.... What Hoveida told me, I'll tell you exactly what Hoveida said. I knew Hoveida since we were all young, and he used to say "thou" to me in French -- we always spoke French together. And he said, "Do you know, I made Hassan minister of information." I said, "Really?" He said, "Yes. When the Shah called me for consultations and asked me whom I will choose for my ministry, my goverment," he said, "we were discussing the names and all that, and suddenly I said ... the Shah said, 'And the minister of information?'" He said, "Without thinking, I said, 'Pakravan'." I said, "What happened?" He said, "Well, the Shah was a bit thoughtful. He said, 'Pakravan? Well, I don't want ... I want him to decide himself. You please ask him.'" And Hoveida said, "I asked Hassan. Hassan said, 'Oh, thank God! I'm finished with this security.'" But I cannot tell you if it's absolutely true.

Q. But your husband didn't say anything to you at the time when he....

A. No, no. He said that Hoveida asked him to become the minister of information and Hassan, my husband, was glad in a way. Because he thought that perhaps through radio, television -- because at the time everything was in the Ministry of Information -- through telling the truth to the people, through organizing really the information in a proper way, he'll somehow educate public opinion in Iran.

I remember one of the first things he asked me. He said, "Find me everything you can in French literature about calumny and slander. I want this to be repeated every day. And the motto is: slander, slander people. Even if it's proved not true, something remains." You know, you tell something bad about a person, even if it's proven it's not true, it remains.

And then he had these Ctafsir-e siasiD, these commentary on the news, foreign and.... Hossein Loghman-Adham, who was the chief of protocol at the Court, he said, "You know, it's funny. At 2:30, no matter who is there, who has finished or not his lunch at the Court, everybody rushes to listen to that."

Q. So there was no falling out with the Shah or disagreement?

A. No, no, no. Absolutely not. You know, my daughter, my eldest daughter, saw the Shah a week before he died, and my sister saw him in hospital in America, when he had already left the country. And my sister is very direct, she said, "Your Majesty, why didn't you take my brother-in-law with you?" He didn't take anybody, and my husband wouldn't go -- I'll tell you that. (This is personal, but never mind.) And she said, "Did you have some grudge against him because he didn't let the Iranian justice execute Khomeini?" And she said he became pale, he said, "How can you say such a thing like this? I liked and admired <him>." And the Queen was there, and she said, "You know, of all the things that happened to us since we left Iran," (because they knew he was killed and all that) "the thing that nearly drove us mad was the execution of General Pakravan. This is the thing that really finished us."

And then again when my daughter saw him, a week, just a week before he died in Cairo, and also heard the testimony of Henri Bonnier <?> -- he's the head of, the literary director of, Alban Michel <?>, the publishing house that published the Shah's memoir; and he used to follow him everywhere. He went to Mexico, to Panama, to San Antonio in Texas, to Cairo, wherever the Shah was, because they were trying to bring as fast as possible all the pages to start the book. And he swore that the Shah wrote it himself.

And he said, "You know, we were discussing, we were talking, naturally there was very much he was always going back to. And I asked him from what he saw ... he said, "I asked him: 'Your Majesty, you mean to say that among all these people ... you've been reigning since 1941, I think, there was nobody, no friend of yours? Nobody that you could trust, nobody that you could listen to?' And he said ... he became very thoughtful and said, 'Yes, there was a wonderful person. A man who told me always the truth. A man who was devoted to me. A man who was never lowly and crawling. But I didn't understand it at the time. And that was Pakravan.'"

I was very touched by this testament, and the fact that he admitted that he didn't understand. Although the last ... but that will be another session. In the last few months before he left Iran, he was pleading to my husband like that, and I asked my husband, I said, "But why?" He said, "You know, I reassured him, my presence." He said, "Perhaps because we started to work together as young men. Perhaps he remembers a few things. Anyway, when I come there, he morally clings to me as if I were a boy or something like that, you know, that gives him some feeling of security." It was very pathetic.

Q. Mrs. Pakravan, now that we have more time for this session, I wanted to ask you to give a little bit of background about yourself and your own family, and then about your own education -- how it came that you began working at the Najmiyeh Hospital.

A. Well, my father and my mother met in Tiflis in the middle of the revolution, and my father married my mother and brought her back to Iran. Unfortunately, after awhile they didn't agree together, and in 1928 my father convinced my mother to let us go, my sister and myself, to Paris with him where he had settled, because he wanted to give ... he believed very much in the French education and he loved France very, very much.

Q. They were both Iranian?

A. No. My mother was half Polish and half Russian.

So we reached Paris after a very long journey because we stopped everywhere. We reached Paris in January of 1929 and we were put in a convent to be educated here at <unclear>. After I finished, my father wanted me ... it was, you know, that in 1937 Reza Shah abolished the chador, the veil, for women. He wanted them to really participate in life, and he also more or less obliged them to wear a hat -- starting with his own family, the Queen Mother -- I mean the Queen -- and his daughters, and the wives of all the ministers, members of government, and high officials of his administration. So my father, who was very much against all that -- although he wasn't a fanatical Moslem, but somehow there were things that he was attached to -- so he said, "You will study to be a midwife, because I'm sure that despite of all the regulation, Iranian women will not agree to go to a male doctor to have their babies."

So I went to this school, which I didn't like at all, and when I went back to Iran, I didn't know Persian very well. That's why many people think I'm French, because my natural language is French -- naturally, because I was quite a small child when I came here, and finished my studies, when I left France. And my father didn't want me to go to Iran. He said, "You know, you're completely brought up like a French girl. You will not be happy there. You don't know Iranians very well." I said, "No, I want to go." He said, "Okay, you go. But you know, I know that you will not be able to live there. But I tell you from now, you must bear it for two years. After two years, if it's really unbearable, then you come back to France."

But in the meantime, there was the war and I met my husband in 1941 --in the summer of '40 -- we married in February of 1941.

Q. You met in Tehran?

A. Yes, we met in Tehran. And very naturally, like every woman, I think that it was in very romantic circumstances. I think all marriages, more or less, are in romantic circumstances.

And when I went back to Iran, I wanted very much to work, and my idea was to work in the public hospital. Of course, I was full of ideals and I thought we have to serve -- you know, things you have when you are very, very young. But there was no Ministry of Health at the time in Iran; there was a general directorate of hygiene. And I was offered a very, very minor job with a really ridiculous salary.

In the meantime, a friend of my father, Dr. Javad Ashtiani, fetched me and took me to Dr. Gholam-Hossein Mossadegh at Najmiyeh Hospital. They had a Swiss matron, and she had left suddenly, so Dr. Ashtiani introduced me to Mossadegh who immediately gave me the job. Because the former matron was always addressed as "Madamoiselle", I became "Madamoiselle" in my turn, and everybody spoke French to me because I didn't know enough Persian. And that's how the idea that I am either French or even Armenian came about. Even people who know me very well, sometimes they're surprised to find that I am actually Iranian.

Anyway, I worked there until my marriage. Then ... surprisingly enough, my husband, who was entirely educated abroad -- His mother was half French and half Iranian; who had in his ancestors two French great-grandmothers; who had a great-great grandfather, Austrian, who was a friend with ... he's now in all the books about Mexico, because he was the one very great friend of Maximilian and he went when Maximilian was supposed to become emperor of Mexico. So this ancestor of my husband, whose name was Stephan von Herzfeld, and who became the Marquis of Cuernevaca, where the Shah was, you know, in Mexico. And that's not important....

Anyway, my husband suddenly decided to become very, very eastern and decided that his wife mustn't work, that he must provide for her. But he couldn't provide for me because he was a young captain and the army officers were very, very underpaid. So we had to live with my mother-in-law, who was a professor at the University of Tehran, and also she was a writer in French. In France they have a prize which is given to foreign authors who write directly in French, it's called Prix <unclear>. It's a very famous prize and she got that for a very, very good book. By the way, I tried to have her books published in America, but apparently they were not interested.

Anyway, and so I stopped working. I had my first child. But we couldn't manage because Tehran entered the war. Don't forget that the country was occupied by the Russians, the British with their colonial armies -- that means the Gurkhas, the Indians, the Sikhs, and what they call Anzac, that's New Zealand and Australia -- and later by America. So life became very, very difficult in Tehran. There was a shortage of practically everything. The Allies had arrested and put into camps all those they suspected of sympathy with the Germans. And so life, naturally ... the price of living shot up. Nobody could afford to live unless you were very, very rich.

It's difficult to visualize the Tehran of that time. I mean, there <were> only two lines of buses and practically no cars. You knew exactly who had a car -- the Court, a few ministers and a few rich people.

So I went back to work, but this time at the hospital of the National Bank with Dr. Raji. It had just been inaugurated and I worked there for a while until in 1944, I think, or '43, there was some trouble with my replacement at Najmiyeh Hospital. And Dr. Mossadegh, that is the father of the famous oil nationalization, insisted that I should come back. So I went back there, but I told him that I will not stay forever and ever, because my father was in Paris, I had no news from him during all the time of the war, except through the Vatican and the Red Cross. The moment peace was around the corner, I wanted to go back to France. They said, "Okay. Peace is not around the corner."

Anyway, in 1945 my father came to Tehran, and he didn't like it at all; and he went back and he was waiting for us. And after awhile, when the war was finished, my father-in-law was appointed as ambassador to Italy.

Q. Your father-in-law being?

A. The father of my husband.

Q. Yes.

A. My father-in-law was a very close, how shall I say, cooperator <associate> of Reza Shah. Reza Shah had trusted him, liked him very much. He was ... during the time of Reza Shah, he had been governor-general of Khorasan, and he was practically the only person who resisted the Russians, the only official who resisted the Russians. It's a famous story that when the Russians invaded Iran -- and naturally they had their commandanture in Mashhad -- there was absolutely a shortage of everything -- suddenly. My father-in-law was a very proud and very ... how shall I say ... strong-willed man. He sat himself beside the drivers of trucks and he went and took out the flour wherever it was and obliged the bakers to bake bread. He went himself <unclear>.

And when the commanding officer of the Russian forces asked him to come, he refused. He sent a message to say that, "You say that you've come to Iran as our allies. If you're our allies, you must respect those who represent the central government of my country. So it's up to you to come and call on me." And the man did.

Anyway, he was arrested. Because we went through a period of terrible trouble after the Shah abdicated, you know, and this was a time of revenge and accusation and anybody close to Reza Shah was arrested. Of course, they couldn't find anything, so they liberated him. And after a while they wanted to make him governor of Azarbaijan, which he refused because it was occupied by the Russians. They wanted to make him back again governor of Khorasan. He refused. He said that he did so much, he had done so much for Khorasan and the Khorasanis were so ungrateful. Which, by the way, later on, they came to beg him to come, but he refused. They wanted to make him prime minister; he refused also. I asked him why. He said, "You know, because they want ... they don't want me to really become <of> service to the country, they just want to finish me. Because it's not the time to be prime minister, there is somebody else and other forces arranged for here." Anyway, they asked him what he wanted to be, and he said, well, he wanted to finish his life, his career in Rome, so he went, he went there.

So, in 1947, I took my three children -- two, two, two children -- my two daughters and we went by road and ship first to Italy -- no, by plane, I'm sorry -- by plane to Rome where I stayed with my father-in-law for a while, and then by train to Paris. I stayed eight months in France and then I went back to Iran. Oh yes, at that time I decided that I was completely fed up with working in a hospital. I couldn't stand to see people ill and dying -- I couldn't. So I decided to change completely my ... aim in life. And I worked ... I was hired by the Iranian Airways, which belonged ... which was a private company belonging to the Afshars and Gholam-Hossein Ebtehaj and all these people. I became secretary, what they call in French "secretaire de direction". And little by little, you know, because of my English and French, I became a man-of-all-jobs.

I stayed there until we went to Pakistan. The first time in the summer of 1949, back again in May 1950, as I told you. Then they took me back to my job. And they did that several times, and every time they increased my salary. So I said, "It's a good point -- I'll go away for a few months, that's the only time that you ... when I come back that you increase my salary." Anyway, the last time was in 1954 when we left for India, and when I came back, I didn't go to that job. I just worked in welfare, you know.

Yes, I taught at the faculty -- it's not the same meaning in English, faculty means a higher college, part of the university -- the one of literature of Tehran had an institute for foreign languages, and I was teaching French there. At the same time, I became the director of RSPA, Society for the Protection of Animals. And I was also practically all my life a member of the Persian Red Cross, which was called the Red Lion and Sun.

I saw between, you know, this kind of jobs, welfare and this and that ... I remember that we started at the time to establish a little society, which we wanted to be completely free from the royal family. Because anybody who did any welfare society always tried to have a member of the royal family. And this spoiled everything, in my opinion, not because of the royal family, but because it gave another meaning to the whole point, you see.

So I asked a few friends of mine, teachers at the university, Ehsan Naraghi, General -- what's his name? -- he was commander of the ... he had been chief-of-staff of the air service. Then several people like that, and we had decided that we must absolutely and very urgently do something about the people ... what is called now "lumpen-proletariat" -- that means this fringe of people who lived in the south of big cities, especially in Tehran, as I told you, in all the caverns where they had dug up for bricks ... to make bricks. And these people lived in the most incredible way.

It was exactly as if they didn't belong to the country. They had their own laws, had their own regulations, and naturally their own traffics, where child prostitution, where organized beggary (I mean organized because they made people, you know, look blind or wounded, or having all kinds of disease, which was all makeup), traffic in drugs, and of course a wonderful hiding place for all kinds of petty criminals. And also a very good reservoir of people who had nothing to lose. And that's the kind of people that Khomeini uses; and Mossadegh would often use in a way also. This is the people among whom ... the kind of mafia we used to have in Iran, you know, the head of Black T <?> and Sha'ban Bimokh (Brainless Sha'ban), all these people who were big dealers in the wholesale markets of Tehran. Actually, they were ... they were real gangsters; they gave protection, you see. They had also the control of the <red-light district> of Tehran.

And these people, we thought at the time (it was in the '50s, late '50s), we numbered them -- there were about 14,000 and we knew that in a matter of ten years there will be ten times as more and so on and so on. And it would represent an immense danger for the country. And also my friends and I thought that it was really absolutely against every sense of justice and even welfare -- not the welfare of these people, but the rest of the capital, the rest of the country, to allow this kind of cancerous society to grow, you see.

So we started with a little ... they were called CZagheh NeshinD <people living in caves>, that was the area of, how shall I say, the "nest" people; because really they were not living in houses, they had <hovels> that they somehow managed to organize for themselves. And those that were honest, they had the most fantastic jobs -- incredible. I remember visiting a family, they were only women -- the mother with five girls living in a small room -- and they had an immense heap of thread completely knotted. I said, "What are you doing?" They said they were paid five rials (I don't know how much is five rials now) unraveling these very, very, very thin threads for hosiery factories to make stockings. Can you imagine the job? Because unraveling wool is already difficult, but this very thin thread -- this was the kind of job they had.

So we started -- because I didn't believe in big things, you know, I always believed in the things that you start small, and then when there are strong roots, then you spread. So with my friends we agreed that we will take over a small area, which funnily enough, was in the middle of the city -- at Behjat-Abad. Now, Behjat-Abad had been a camp at the time of the war, when the Allies were in Iran. At the time of the war, the Russians made all kinds of promises to the Armenians, to say: "Go back to Armenia. Why do you stay here where you're not in your country? You're Armenians -- go back there."

So they rushed from all over the country (mostly from Esfahan and the countryside of Esfahan, because there they were agriculturalists) to Tehran, from where they were supposed to be taken by the Russians to Armenia and they were stuck there. So they were established ... the government with the help of the Armenian community that was, after all, quite rich and prosperous, established these camps. They didn't know what to do with these people. They couldn't go back, because they had sold everything. And on top of that, they had lost face before those Armenians who refused to go. They didn't have anywhere to go and they were completely stuck there. Anyway, somehow they were resettled; some of them actually went to Russia, the others were distributed in the various Armenian communities.

But the camp remained. And all these poor people who, because life was so difficult in small cities of Iran, or in the countryside, they started to come to Tehran with the hope of finding a job. They settled there in little hovels they built for themselves. So we had a very, very good plan for that, to resettle these people. The principle was that they should do it themselves, with our help, but they should do everything themselves because we didn't want to make mendicants and beggars. We wanted them ... to give them their sense of dignity, that they had by their own efforts brought themselves up.

And we had the help of students from the university -- we were very, very grateful. We wanted to use them, because we realized very soon that the university people, especially the students, were not taken seriously, you know. I'm not the one to make demagogy for the youths, because I think that this is the time of effort and we mustn't flatter the young. We must show them the way, show them in a sincere way, you know.

So these people had nothing. There was no kind of amusement in Tehran. No kind of incentive, you know. I remember, every time I talked to a young person, I asked him ... my first question, "Do you read?" And they said, "No, what is reading?" They just looked through papers. They never ... nobody explained to them that it's not enough to go to university. That beside university, you have to work by yourself. You must use what you learn at the university as the guideline to improve your mind, and you improve your mind by reading, by reflecting, by talking to people who can ... who have something to give you. That was something entirely new, and sometimes they didn't trust people who said that, who told them these things. So we thought we'd ask them to come and participate in this kind of job, instead of always criticizing, and let them put their hand into the mud and try to clean it.

That was very well, except that naturally we fell into bureaucracy. The Shah somehow learned about this and he said, "Very good. Give me some reports." We made a small report. We said we didn't want anybody's help. Because, you know, these Behjat-Abad ... the land there being in the middle of the city, in the north, which was the elegant part of the city, it was very expensive. And the poor, I mean the poor, the landowners of this land, the owners of this land, had been so many times promised that something will be done -- they will be given money and all that. So we told them: "We don't want any money. We ask you, each of you, to give us proportionately to the piece of land that has been occupied by this <hovel>, the building material, and to have your lawyers control that this will be actually not built here." But Ahmad Naficy was the....

Q. Mayor of Tehran.

A. Vice mayor. No, he wasn't the mayor at the time.

Q. Vice mayor.

A. He showed us very good land that was already prepared with electricity, water, and we were going to settle there. So we were very happy. We also said that all the ... well, it's a long story. It didn't come to anything because they wanted us to become part of this enormous thing, COrdoohay'e KarD <work camp>, it was the resettlement, the so-called resettlement of beggars and all that -- that was a big plan. Anyway, this went to the dogs and we went to ... I was busy with other things. I worked very hard at it, but it didn't, I mean we didn't ... somehow I suppose people didn't like ... those who were responsible for ... in responsible jobs, perhaps didn't want that.

After a while, when I came back from India ... I had been very impressed in India by the handiworks of the various states of Delhi and everywhere. And I'd been impressed by the fact that the Indians were intelligent enough to understand that handiwork was beautiful but it was always repetitive. So they brought artists from abroad, mostly from France, to use the means of this craft, but to make it to the taste of the people, and especially the Europeans, the Westerners who were the best customers for that kind of things.

So I came back to Iran and I wanted very much to have this ... to start this handicraft in Iran. At the time Assadollah Alam was the head of the Pahlavi Foundation. Here I must say that he was very, very well disposed towards my husband's family, because they were also from Birjand, south of Khorasan, and they had established somehow the best of relationships with my father-in-law. So Assadollah Alam received me, and he said, "How wonderful. I'm going." Because we had to be attached. I couldn't start that; I never had any money, I didn't have the personal ... we had to start somewhere. He said, "Well, we start it from the Pahlavi Foundation."

And I started to gather friends and all that, when suddenly he said that the government had decided to revive the tourist organization, which had been founded by Reza Shah, with the Iran Tour Company ... was in charge of tourism in Iran, which was completely half-asleep, attached to the Ministry of Transport. And Amir-Assadollah Alam told me that they wanted to establish a new organization for tourism, and that organization would work through a high council of -- we like very much high council of this and that in Iran -- tourism and also through committees. And so I shall become the secretary-general of the high council and also in charge of the committee for ... all the committees, including the one for handicrafts.

So we started that very modestly, with Mehri Shaibani as head of this thing. And at the time there was no parliament in Iran. Very little after that Assadollah Alam became prime minister and the government governed by decrees. And so we were established with a decree. That was a very fascinating job, I liked it very much until the government changed again.

Hassan-Ali Mansour became prime minister and he kicked out everybody except me. And he had a new head of this organization who reorganized everything, and I was put with my colleagues a little bit aside, because the new head of the new organization -- who was Ghasem Reza'i -- was convinced that my little part of this organization was a kind of branch of the security organization. And I am very, very direct. I told him one day, I said, "You know, my husband doesn't need me. I'm sure that he has agents in your organization. I don't know them. And I'm working because I like this job and that's all." So we established a very good relationship after that.

After several trials and errors, eventually he ... somehow he ... how shall I say, more or less not completely cancelled, but didn't use the high council, but he made me head of the planning and development of tourism, CModir Tarh-ha va Bar-resihaD. And he made the mistake of falling on the other side, you know; I became his Cma'loumatD, his thinking brains, his right-hand man, from one....
Q. So you started working together?

A. So we started, it was a very fascinating job. I liked it very much. I even went to the first United Nations conference on tourism, which took place in Rome in September of '64 -- I think, I don't know, yes -- in '63. When I came back it was still ... Shaibani was the head and he said, "Go and see the Shah." I must say that the thing I was the proudest <of> was the reorganization of Golestan Palace. Of course I didn't achieve it, but that was our plan, with Mohsen Foroughi and other people.

And so I went to see the Shah. And the interesting thing is that <it was> my only public audience, because I knew the Shah, of course I met him very often and all that. What was interesting in that was, first of all, I saw how the Shah could be courteous and attentive to what people said. He listened very carefully, and after I finished, he asked questions. He asked me, he said, "What is your greatest difficulty in this job?" I said, "Regulations." He said, "What do you mean?" I said, "Regulations in this country are not made to advance the affairs of the country but to paralyze." So we discussed this point at length, and then he said, "What would you do if you were in charge? What would you do with the regulations?" I said, "I would take them in the middle of Maydan-e Sepah and burn them." He said, "Well, that's rather extreme, isn't it?"

Then he said, "What was the most important conclusion at this conference of the United Nations on tourism?" I said, "Well, the conclusion ... as you know United Nations cannot impose anything, they can just suggest and advise. They say that we -- all of us -- must obtain from our respective governments the principle that never the Ministry of Information, wherever it existed, would be mixed with Tourism. They are two different activities."

And the Shah said, "Why?" I said, "May I speak very clearly?" He said, "Yes, do." I said, "Your Majesty, you know that the Ministry of Propaganda, from its own name -- now it can be information, whatever -- is made ... is a political instrument to enhance a country's facilities inside the country and abroad. So, because it is political, it can always exaggerate, and say: "The sky of Iran is the bluest, the water of Iran is the best, the fruits of Iran are unique," and all that. But in tourism they cannot say that, because if a man comes by car, and he breaks his springs every other kilometer, or he doesn't find good roads, or he doesn't find hotels, rooms in hotels or anything, or a place, even, to go and wash his hands, then this is adverse propaganda we make. We must be truthful. We must give them good, precise information about the climate, what to wear, when to come, what kind of roads, how to travel, how to behave, etc., etc." So he quite agreed, but eventually, as you know, in the end they did that -- they mixed the two together.

Well, that was finished because we went to Pakistan; my husband was named ambassador there. And Mr. Pahlbod wanted me to be in charge of cultural affairs at the embassy. I tried to convince him that it was impossible; you couldn't have a diplomatic list with "General Pakravan, ambassador; Mrs. Pakravan, head of ... counselor for cultural affairs". Why not "Miss Pakravan and Mr. Pakravan" -- go down the way, all the ... make a family association? He said, "All right, then I name somebody, but you will be actually in charge." So when I went to Pakistan, I worked as head of the cultural affairs and that was very, very interesting also. We gathered a lot of information of the progress or regress of the Persian language, where it was taught, etc., etc. And that was that. Now you ask me questions.

Q. I'm going to ask you about a series of sort of important historical personalities, some of whom you may know well, some of whom you may not. I'll begin first with Dr. Mossadegh. Did you ever meet him?

A. Of course!

Q. What sort of impression did you have of him from the point of view of a woman?

A. You know, I don't want to give you my impression now, because it's different from what I felt when I was a young girl. When I was put in charge of the hospital the first time, after a while his son said, "My father will come and inspect the hospital, and talk to you." I said, "All right." So one day this very distinguished Iranian gentleman, very elegant -- because he didn't wear that kind of Mao Tse-tung clothes, he was wearing western clothes. He reminded me of a French writer in his physical aspects. He was really "grand seigneur" -- very courteous, very, very nice. Spoke French beautifully and addressed me in French. He had sent flowers beforehand. He asked me many questions, and encouraged me in my job, and was very, very nice.

Then somehow I became great friends with his son, Gholam-Hossein, and his family, his wife, Zia-os-Saltaneh, and they were extremely nice. But mostly, as I was very, very busy in the hospital, it was mostly my sister who went ... at one time she lived with them because they had a younger daughter who was in a rest house in Switzerland, and she was there for ... since she was twenty.

Then after I left, I came back again. When I came back again, I had acquired some assurance, you know, I was more sure of myself. I could stand up to people. I could speak the language better. And I wasn't impressed so much as I was when I was a young girl of twenty, because my father had brought me up to respect my elders and betters. But there I started to think by myself.

So, when he asked me to come back, I went to see him. We saw each other, and I said, "You know, Dr. Mossadegh, the first time I worked here, I was quite a raw young girl, I didn't know anything. I came straight from school to run a hospital." Which was the most important hospital, private hospital in Tehran, because at the time we never even mentioned the public hospitals, they were so awful. I said, "But since then, I have my ideas about how to run a hospital. I want you, please, to accept that within the confines of the hospital, the limits of this, I am the absolute master. And the doctors, the surgeons, nurses, absolutely visitors, everybody must accept the rules I'm going to establish for this hospital." He said, "All right, do that."

So the first thing I did was to establish visiting hours, because we could never do anything for the patients. People used to come in the hospital with their carpets, their charcoal stove or kerosene stove, wife (if it was a man), I mean all the family -- children, grandchildren -- everybody would spread their carpets and really picnic there all the time. Smoke cigarettes, speak aloud, come and go any time of day or night.

Then another thing which I wanted to do was to give a day off to the nurses and to all the personnel -- staff, the hospital staff -- and also to give them some more holidays --so I had them in uniform -- and little by little get rid of the so-called practical nurses and have trained nurses. And we didn't have great sources, we had only the American <?> school. Later on two very, very good schools were established for nurses, training nurses.

And Mossadegh, I must say, kept to his word, because one time a general came at 11:00 at night, and he wanted to visit his wife who had just had a baby, and I said no. The doorkeeper came and said, "He's making a scandal at the door." And I said, "Let him." So I went to him and I talked to him. I said, "You cannot make such a noise in a hospital. Your wife is not the only patient here." He said, "You are a dog attached to this place. You are not a matron. I'm going to have you kicked out of this place." I said, "Okay, do that."

So he went next day to Mossadegh-os-Saltaneh and complained to him, "Why is that girl, that woman...?" And he <Mossadegh> said, "You know, I cannot say anything, because even if I went to the hospital, I have to submit to the rules she has." And so the man came the next day with flowers and stockings -- nylon, which was very rare -- and he said, "I'm sorry." I said, "Look here, I'm going to speak very plainly to you. You know a patient, whether he is a surgery patient or a gynecology patient, has some natural needs in daytime. How can they satisfy that if the room is always full of visitors?"

So anyway. And Mossadegh was very, very good. As I'm...

Q. Why was he involved in this? What was the involvement of Dr. Mossadegh in the hospital?

A. Because he was the head. You know, the Mossadegh Najmiyeh Hospital was a foundation by his mother, Najm-os-Saltaneh, <who> was a princess, a very high princess. And he was the head of the endowment of Moghoufeh. And people knew him because he was, after all, one of the great, important people of Iran. So he thought if he went directly to him, he will immediately kick me out of the hospital.

Q. So what was the role of his son?

A. He was a surgeon. He was the ... how shall I say? ... he was the director of the hospital, he was the medical ... head of the medical part of the hospital. And we had many other doctors. We had Dr. Mo'aven. And I tell you something, you asked me ... we had Prof. Adl, we had Dr. Vosoughi. All the best doctors used to come there.

One day Dr. Mo'aven -- a brilliant surgeon, who had been put in prison by Reza Shah because he was friends with foreigners, which was forbidden -- he became <a> member of parliament for Saleh, somewhere near Kermanshah. And I was still very naive at the time; I thought that political life in Iran was like Europe: that you had political parties, there were elections, and parties ... and members of such-and-such parties went to parliament and decided on the policy and things. So I asked him, I said, "What is your party?" He laughed, he said, "My pocket." Then he said, "The other pocket." And he said, "And Dr. Mossadegh." And he brought out a little syringe for shots. He said, "You know, Dr. Mossadegh (that's the big Mossadegh) is member of parliament and whenever somebody stands up to him or something doesn't please him, he faints." And of course he didn't believe in this fainting. "So I give him some injections to revive him."

Anyway, I wasn't very, very political-minded at the time. There was a big fight between ... Qavam-os-Saltaneh, who became prime minister and he had founded a party called The Democrat. And he had an enormous fight with the Communists. First of all, he had brought in two or three Communist ministers, including Dr. Keshavarz.

And I remember one day they had a terrible fight in the streets. And Mozzafar Firouz, who was deputy prime minister and also a cousin of Mossadegh, he came and very, very imperiously said, "Open the door." I said, "Why?" "My children (that means the people of my party) have been wounded and they have to be hospitalized." I said, "I'm sorry. We cannot have that. This is the result of fighting, street fighting. This is a hospital for surgery, for midwifery and we cannot have you." So he insisted. I said, "Okay, you wait."

And he came and we had to put mattresses .. we had plenty of mattresses ... in the cellars -- we brought in the mattresses, put them there, put these people -- and I called Prof. Adl to come. And these men started, you know, showing off. We had ... across <from> our hospital was the famous Park Hotel, you know, which was a very elegant gathering place. "Send to the Park Hotel for dinner for the children. Give them dinner!" I said, "Well, you know, in a hospital the kitchen closes at the most at seven o'clock. I have nothing." They said, "Well, you must feed them."

I said, "You like them so much, go and buy them some food at the Park Hotel. They deserve it." And he started giving.... I said, "Look here, you shut up! I don't care who you are. And this fighting wasn't so wonderful, because all of your so-called children are wounded at the back, which shows that they were running away and not facing the fight." He stopped. He wanted also to complain to Mossadegh, to his cousin; it didn't come to anything.

That was the atmosphere. And I wasn't very much interested in politics. I didn't understand much of it.

I was expecting my third child and I had a little.... What strikes me, what impressed me at the time -- we had two chaps from the foundation....

Q. Which foundation?

A. Najmiyeh Foundation, the foundation of which Dr. Mossadegh was the head, founded by his mother. They had <a> hospital, this hospital, in which they were always supposed to have ten free patient<s> and they had also houses and all that, the revenue of which went to this foundation. The foundation was originally made for ten people -- ten poor people -- to be looked after medically. Also, it was ... they had built many other rooms, and it was rented as a hospital to any doctor who wanted to take it, provided that he treated also the poor patients for nothing. But the foundation paid him ten tomans a day for every patient -- that was three thousand tomans a month. Okay.

When I came back to the hospital, I asked Mossadegh-os-Saltaneh .... It was only for men we had the room, ten beds, with men only. It was over the kitchen, and it was the only place where we could have hot water, because there was a big range in the kitchen, where they had hot water. So I asked him to let me build on the terrace a few showers, because these people, these peasants, came full of lice and we had epidemics of typhus in Iran. Because the Polish ... the Poles who had been kept in camps in Russia were going through Iran to be settled all over the world, and they stayed there and they brought all kinds of diseases with them. We had many, many cases of typhus and it was spread, you know, through lice and we didn't want to have that. To say nothing of the fact of having a young mother find lice on her bed. And he refused.

Then I asked him to allow me to increase the number of beds for poor people, because Tehran was in a terrible situation economically. There were so many people from the provinces, the country, and everybody was so poor -- life was very expensive. And we had <a> little fight over that. I said, "When your mother founded this hospital, Tehran was a small city. People used to walk, there <were> no cars. I'm sure if she lived now, she would understand that you have to increase." "No, no, no, nothing doing." Okay.

Then these two chaps that came from the foundation: one came every day to count, because we had to write the name of all the free patients; and the other one was what you call a kind of bailiff -- every big landowner (Mossadegh was a big landowner) had someone who looked after the land. This fellow, always when he came he would look, you know, all around, he will ask questions. He was a kind of spy and I didn't like that at all. In the end Mossadegh found him out that he wasn't so good and they separated.

But then there were two nurses also, two sisters, who I didn't like very much, and one day I told Mossadegh, I said, "Dr. Mossadegh, you wanted me back in your hospital; it's because I suppose you trust me." He said, "Of course I trust you." I said, "Why do you spy on me?" He said, "I don't." I said, "Yes, you do." I said, "Anything you want, ask me." I said, "You know...." He said, "No, no, I'm sorry." I said, "No, please, ask me." I said, "You know, the trouble with a spy is that when he doesn't find anything to spy on, he invents. And this is where the trouble starts." He said okay and these two nurses were ... I told them too, I said, "You know, you work here, you don't spy please. Why there is to spy here? It's a hospital; I'm running it, and it's open, there is no underground activity." That was that.

So I realized that Mossadegh, like many important people -- the Shah in his way and others that I don't want to name -- they are, especially if they are a little bit, how shall I say, dictatorial (a little bit ... they have great authority), they are always in the hands of the entourage, the so-called entourage. You know the famous saying of one of the Roman emperors -- they were called Caesars -- he said, "Rome (that means his whole empire) trembles before ... at the name of Caesar, Caesar trembles before his wife, and both his wife and he tremble before the child." You see? And this is very, very ... I think it demonstrates the fact that all big men have this weakness, which we don't realize, to give part of their will and authority to people who don't deserve it.

Q. How about...?

A. You see. And these people are the ones who cause all the trouble.


Q. How about Qavam-os-Saltaneh? Did you ever meet him?

A. Yes, I met him. I met him. No, I met him at.... Yes, he became prime minister. I must say here that I was great friends with Dr. Iran Alam and her sister, Touran Alam, and also their mother, Khanom Amir-Alam, and Dr. Amir-Alam were like mother and father to me when I came back to Iran. And Amir-Alam was the eldest daughter of Vosough-od-Dowleh, who was the brother of Qavam-os-Saltaneh. And whereas Vosough-od-Dowleh was such a courteous, nice and wonderful person and a poet, his brother was very, very stern and very strict. And the first thing he did when he became prime minister, he said, "No Iranian official is allowed to accept invitations from foreign embassies." Okay.

The only time I met him was when his nephew, Ali Vosough, married.... Qavam-os-Saltaneh was prime minister and there was a big, big wedding reception at the officer's club to which I was invited with other wives. I was a young, a very young woman at the time....

Q. How about Razmara?

A. Razmara. Well, I also met him from far. Razmara was head of general staff when we were the first time in Pakistan. And he was the one who sent the cable to my husband, "Come back immediately because you've been appointed Chief of G-2." To which my husband replied, "Please explain to His Majesty that I'm much too young in rank and in experience, and I'll make so many enemies in this job that I will be paralyzed." And he accepted. He liked my husband very much.

I met him from far as prime minister. I remember him as a small man, always very clean-looking -- he always seemed to be coming out of his bath. Very energetic-looking. But I don't know him; I think I never spoke even to him. No.

Q. And General Zahedi?

A. No. I never met -- or perhaps I met him once, I don't remember. I don't remember at all, unless I met him at some reception, but not to speak to.

Q. How about the former Queen Soraya?

A. Well, Queen Soraya -- you know, as we were more ... my mother-in-law was lady-in-waiting to Princess Shams, and we used to go to the ... very often, to the Court, and when my husband was Chief G-2 during the time of Mossadegh, the Shah used to invite us to private parties, which lasted usually twelve hours.

Q. Which lasted what?

A. Lasted twelve hours, you know. For instance, if we went for dinner at eight o'clock, then we finished by having breakfast at Shahvand in Sadabad at eight o'clock to see the sun rise.

Q. Goodness.

A. It was <a> very, very childish party. We used to dance, play musical chairs, have dinner, play guessing games. It was really not at all the orgies of oriental court. It was very nice.

And I didn't like Soraya because I found her very, very cold, very distant. I never spoke to her until they came on a state visit to India, where we were. They stayed three weeks, and so we traveled with them all over the place. She didn't impress people very well because when we came back, their last ... they left India through Bombay.... And we were coming back by train to Delhi (my husband and I) and there was a lady -- her husband had been the former Divan of the Nawab Rampour, that was a Moslem, and he was a deputy, a member of parliament, of the Indian parliament, and his wife had been appointed as lady-in-waiting to Soraya during this stay -- and she was absolutely kicking mad. She said, "She has no manners." She said this. She did ... she upset all the time the protocol; for instance, when you had to wear long and formal dress, she would say, "No, I don't have the patience."

The mayor of Bombay was a woman and she gave a fantastic reception, lunch time, while the Shah was visiting some navy unit -- that was a lunch for ladies. I think even the governor was a woman, I don't remember very well. Anyway, Iranians ... we Iranians were very few. Besides the Queen, there were her two ladies-in-waiting, and there was me. Perhaps the wife of the ambassador, our ambassador, I'm not sure. Anyway, the result was that I was seated quite close to the Queen and this Indian lady. And the Indian women have a very, very strong feeling of their importance when they acquire public office. She made a speech, a very long, nice speech. I think there were at least a thousand women there, because it was under a tent. Many, many women, perhaps five hundred, I don't know, I have no way to judge. And then everybody waited for the Queen, the Empress, to get up and reply to this speech. She sat like that.

I talked to Mrs. Yazdanpanah, I said, "Khanom, tell Her Majesty to reply." So, "Your Majesty, will you reply?" "No." I said, "Why?" So, and like that I said, "Please, I beg you, Your Majesty, do get up and reply." She said, "What shall I say?" I said, "Say thank you. Say a few words, you've been impressed by..." No. She got up and she went. Ah....

And so, during all that trip from Bombay to Delhi until night, that woman, the lady-in-waiting, she said, "Yes, she has no manners. <unclear> Why did she refuse to wear formal clothes? If she'd been invited to Buckingham Palace, do you think she would do as she wished?" I said, "Well, you know, the climate, and...." And the woman said, "No, no, no." I said, "Well...." I had to defend my Queen. Anyway.

But I pitied her very much because I think she was the woman that the king loved the most and she couldn't give him a child.

Q. Is that true, that he really loved her?

A. Oh yes! He was ... he was very much.... My mother-in-law told me a little anecdote. She said that they were having lunch ... small, a few people.... (And I saw myself at one of these evenings, you know, where she smoked.) Soraya smoked and the king was like a young lover, you know, he would look through all his pockets, immediately give her the lighter, you know, and she was very.... He adored her. And my mother-in-law said, "I was mad." I said, "What happened?" She said, "You know, we started to speak about ... for a man ... the Shah said ... to ask him what was his ideal woman, beauty in woman. And he said, 'Well, I'm very lucky because the Queen is exactly the kind of woman that I like.' And she said, 'Well, I cannot say the same for Your Majesty.'" Now whether she was joking or she was serious, my mother-in-law was very, very mad.

And then she went and wrote this stupid book -- so silly, you know. Practically saying that they were so poor that she had to vacuum.... No, she didn't say that, but I mean it was very, very low.

Q. But yet you know there are people who compare her very favorably to Queen Farah and say that the Shah really began to go astray after he married Farah.

A. They have to prove that. I don't know. The thing is that when Soraya was the queen she was very popular, because Iranians are very sensitive to beauty, you know. She was beautiful. She's not my kind of beauty, I don't like cold people. She was very shy, actually. I remember when I went ... in Bombay, we went to another lunch for ladies at Poonam, she was extremely shy. I don't think she was proud and arrogant, she was shy.

And I know another thing is that she hated to be a queen.
Q. She hated to be queen?

A. She several times tried -- that's what they said, my mother-in-law said -- tried to persuade the king to abdicate and go live abroad.

Q. Really?

A. Yes. She didn't like it at all. I must say that the life of the Court and all the intrigues between ... the Shah had too many brothers and too many sisters, you know, that's not good for a king. That's not good at all.

So I think she is to be pitied because she didn't succeed in giving a child, she didn't succeed.... Another thing, which I know that for a fact: she wasn't very kind to the Shah's daughter, Shahnaz. And that, for those who knew it, wasn't very pleasant. Because the Shah, he liked his daughter so much, I was witness to that. And then he stopped, he completely cut her off because Soraya didn't like her. This wasn't very nice.

Q. What was it like in the Court? I mean, there are all kinds of rumors and stories, but nobody really....

A. No, I'll tell you something. I was recently at a lunch with people who were very close to the Court, and they started saying things which surprised me very much. And they said, "Where were you? Why don't you know these things?" I told them, "First of all, I was working practically all my life. I worked. Then I had my children." My children went before my work, but still, I mean, I devoted my time to my work, to my job, to my close friends. I wasn't the type ... I liked social life, I liked to put <on> beautiful dresses and to go to a ball, and to go to an embassy or to a big important reception, but it wasn't my life, you know. And my husband never discussed his job with me except on things that were common knowledge, public knowledge. That was for my safety. And also because we had many other subjects of conversation.

So I told these women, I said, "Look here, I was always working. I never was in the confidence of people who gossiped, because I never liked gossip, you know." Well, small, as an English friend of mine used to say, juicy bits of gossip, well, that was, you know, not.... But real gossip, you know, I mean, judging people and accusing them without any, any, any proof.... I remember one day when I was still very naive, a friend of mine, an acquaintance, said, "Well, how do you know, you don't live in this town -- so-and-so sleeps with so-and-so?" I said, "Were you there when they did it?" I said, "You know, you can find yourself in circumstances, depending on what, who watches that, they can say that you were very bad or you're very, very innocent."

And beside I hated this spreading of rumors and all that. I remember a few days before ... a few months before this revolution started, I begged them, I said, "You know you're serving Khomeini because you are like a -- how do you say? -- like tabl, a drum. He beats on you and you produce a sound." So I wouldn't know, at all, all the rumors. I knew what my mother-in-law told me; she used to go very often. I used to go to Princess Shams' every two weeks -- she had a reception with a lecture or music, and things like that. The only time we were, I shouldn't say intimate, we were going to the Shah's Court, that was during that short period <when> my husband was Chief G-2 during Mossadegh's time. Otherwise....

Q. When he was head of the SAVAK?

A. Well, we used to go, but you know, after that, from 1958, our Court became very, very formal.

Q. What became?

A. The Court became very, very formal. I'll give you a small example. The first visit abroad of Queen Farah with her husband was to inaugurate an art exhibition in Paris -- Persian art, 7,000 years of art. My eldest daughter was a student at the time in Paris. And Parviz Adl was responsible, the counselor for press affairs. He asked, he said (because he liked my husband very much) he asked my daughter to be one of the hostesses at this museum where the exhibition was. And the Queen came and she saw Sa'ideh -- she's a bit older, I mean they always followed each other in the same school with two years of difference. She came back and said, "Sa'ideh, is that you?" She was extremely nice, she said to Jahanbani, "I want Sa'ideh Pakravan to be invited to all the receptions that she can attend, except the Elysee and things like that."

And when she came back, all the officials -- it was the custom, the protocol -- used to go to the airport to meet ... to greet their majesties. She was shaking hands with somebody, after she shook hands with me, and she turned, she said, "You know, I saw Sa'ideh very often in Paris." I said, "Yes, I know. Your Majesty has been extremely kind."

And, as a young girl, as a student, whenever my husband came to Paris, he used to take her out for dinner with Madame <?>, who was a friend of hers and the head of the Franco-Iranian Association. So whenever she saw my husband, she used to wink at him, you know, to say, "Remember, I was a student and now...." I remember he saw her, long before she became a queen, he said, "Oh by the way, you know, I had dinner with Madame <?> and Farah." I said, "Oh, how is she?" He said, "She didn't speak very much, I suppose she was very ... she is a young girl, she was very impressed by a general with white hair. But I think she has a very, very, very strong personality." That was before she became a queen.

So ... but after that, she wasn't allowed to speak to anybody. She would ... they were very impressed when the Queen of England came to Iran on an official visit, <and> after the dinner she and Prince Philip just mingled with people. Then I heard from the British ambassador, he said, "The royal family, every member, makes a point of seeing as many people and talking to as many people as possible to give that feeling of, 'Ah, I spoke to Princess Margaret or to the Queen or to Prince Philip.'" And the Shah was very, very much impressed by that so after that he used to do that, he used to.... But always he kept a distance between himself and the Iranians.

Q. This was after '58?

A. Oh, this was in the '60s. She came ... the Queen....

Q. No, you said the Court had become more formal.

A. Yes, '58, '59. It becomes very, very formal. Later on I heard that Hossein Loghman-Adham had been sent to England -- to the Court of England -- to learn real royal protocol. And they really had too much of it. The Court became very stiff, very formal, and it wasn't.... I don't like protocol. I like protocol a little bit, because it's easier when you know exactly where you stand in official circumstances, but not so that it's stifling. No. What's the point? After all, we're all human beings, and I think we can respect a person without being completely paralyzed by all kinds of rules. Well, that was that. What else?

Q. Is there anything you'd like to say about Princess Ashraf?

A. You know, Princess Ashraf, she had better relations.... She had -- how shall I say? -- my sister knew her better. I, when Princess Shams was the vice president of the Iranian Red Cross (the president was the Shah himself), she married against ... her second marriage was against the will of her brother, with Mr. Boushehri. So she was deprived officially of all her titles and of course all the privileges she had; and the vice presidency of <the> Red Cross was given to Princess Ashraf. And I was a member of that, I used to go there ... until the Shah forgave his sister, and she came back to Iran, and he wanted to give her back her job as vice president of <the> Red Cross.

And at one time I was ... so in the end I left. I don't remember if I told Princess Ashraf or if I had somebody tell her that "I cannot be in this false position. My mother-in-law is lady-in-waiting. I am with you. Anything that happens between the two, you will feel that it's either I or my mother-in-law who has been making some trouble."

She was extremely nice, and I must say that mostly I found out how nice she was when I became responsible in part of tourism in Iran. She wanted me very much to cooperate with her husband, Dr. Boushehri, who also had a kind of private tourist organization and an agency. She was extremely nice. Then when we came to Paris she was very, very nice. She tried to smooth our way, she tried ... she knew that we were not familiar with all the intrigues of the Court, so several times she told me to do this and that, to be careful. She was extremely nice. Now, here she is.

I pity her terribly because I think the book she wrote, CFaces in the MirrorD, is a beautiful book. It's not always truthful, unfortunately, because I suppose that nobody is ever truthful. But, I think what happened to her, you know ... she was ... as a twin very attached to her brother. She lost her son, who was a wonderful person, Shahriar, a wonderful person. She lost her brother and she lost her mother. They say her mother was like mummified -- never mind, it was her mother. And she helps, I hear -- I haven't seen her since the revolution -- but I hear that she helps Iranians very, very much.

I think one thing that cannot be denied her is her courage. They accuse her of having taken money, but a friend of mine told me something very interesting. She said in ... when Mossadegh was prime minister, he asked the Shah to send his sister away, and she was practically kicked out of the country with nothing. Her ... the son that was killed, assassinated, was in treatment -- he was a baby, he was a small baby -- he was in treatment in Switzerland because they suspected that he had TB -- tuberculosis. And Mossadegh cut -- that's the story -- cut the money to send to him until he went and had the proof that it was true.

And anyway, that friend of mine, who was very close to Princess Ashraf, said that one day she went to see her in a very small hotel where she stayed in Paris. And she had put a few knick-knacks, jewelry, very cheap jewelry, on the bed. And she told my friend, she said, "You know, I was kicked like a servant from the house. I wasn't even allowed to take any of my things. This is all I was able to bring with me. And my friend in Paris helped me to live, because I have no money at all. But I swear in front of you, that if ever the situation turns back, I shall become a very, very, very rich person."

You know, one thing that people always forget is that no one of the royal family has received a proper, formal higher education. When you remember that, that Ashraf is a self-made woman -- she tells this in her book, her father didn't want her to go to university. She's really intelligent. She learned French beautifully, she learned English beautifully. She learned many, many things. She was too eager, because she wanted to serve her brother. Anyway, it's very sad. I have no judgment there because I think a person who has suffered as much as she has suffered, I shouldn't judge her.

Q. How about the former queen, Queen Farah?

A. Queen Farah -- I knew her as a young child. I knew her father very well, her mother. I think it's funny that she was an only child, her father used to call her "crown of my head." And her mother's real name is Taj-ol-Molouk, it means the "crown of the kings." I don't know, I really cannot say because my impression was that she was very popular in Iran. I never saw her informally since she became queen, except once -- no, I'm forgetting that when she came to Pakistan ... they came several times.

The first time she came, after those who came to greet her ... she settled in the house that was put at their disposal. She called me in and we walked a little bit. She was very fond of trees and she asked me about trees in Pakistan which are beautiful. She asked me about several things. But I was never close to her, so I really cannot say.

I saw her last June. I see her mother when she's in Paris. I saw Queen Farah last June. It was the first time we saw each other after the revolution and we cried. She kissed me, I kissed her, we cried. Then she said that she wants to live a very, very retired life with her children. She doesn't want to mix in anything, in any public things. She expressed a wish to live in Paris, in France, because the French are always very kind to her. You know, I told her, I said, "You are a bit their queen. They always call you 'Farah Diba'." "Yes," she laughed. She likes France.

But people say that she organized all these big festivals, all these big events that, in the end, drove people mad -- the coronation, the Persepolis. I remember when Persepolis ... when there was a talk to celebrate the 25 centuries of continuous monarchy in Iran, I was a member of the small committee called the reception committee and CTashrifatD <protocol> and all that. And we used to have meetings every week and we never achieved anything. We always changed our plans. In the end, I think we all agreed that what we would ... the way we would celebrate this big, important event in our history would be by having an enormous congress of orientalists in Iran -- which <would> have been much better than to have what we had. Then I went to Pakistan, so they changed it.

But I remember that Mr. Boushehri ... that means ... Amir-Homayoun, his name was, an old man, who presided over our meetings. One day we told him, "Tell His Majesty that we think that this and that." He said, "Me tell His Majesty that the committee said ... has this kind or this opinion?" We said, "Yes, of course. Why not?" He said, "Never." I said, "Look here, Mr. Boushehri. If His Majesty wanted to settle everything himself, why should he have committees? If he wants committees, it's because we were supposed to give advice." "No, no, no. Nothing doing."

I really wouldn't know what kind of a person she <Queen Farah> is. I am sure that she ... she was impatient. I remember one day we saw her before we left for Pakistan, and she said, "I'm so eager to help His Majesty; I'm so eager to make Iran known all over the world for our history, our civilization, our arts. But I have often the impression that people don't follow me. I don't know why." So she felt that.

You know there was a lack of understanding of what really people want ... personally, for instance. Although I'm not left-minded or anything, but practical. I think that she should never have allowed them to set a school for her children -- apart. The Crown Prince should have gone to a public school; he should have been kicked and he should have kicked. And I remember one day, I criticized that in front of somebody who was close to her, and they said, "Oh well, but you know in this school they have the son of the gardener and the son of the cook and the son of the...." I said, "Look here, they still are the gardener of the Court and the cook of the Court. He must meet real people. He should go to a public school. He should have friends who are not from the Court," and all that. I think that was a mistake.

I really don't know what part of ... what to say about her, because she was very popular. What strikes me now, when they say, "Well, Khomeini started to make trouble in the middle of the '70s" and all that, is that all the propaganda against the royal family started much, much, much earlier than that. When the Queen had her baby at this hospital in the south of the city, I was worried, I said, "My God, they will say that it's not her child." Luckily the child looked so much like his father that they stopped saying that.

But I remember the love of the royal family. I remember I was shopping, and I saw a young agriculturalist worker, you know, one of these peasants, walking ... coming across the other way and just crying, crying: "Khanom, Khanom!" I thought it was a beggar, something happened. I said, "What's the matter with you?" And I saw all the cars having <flashing?> their light<s> and hooting and honking. I was in my ... you know, concentrating on what I was doing. I said, "What's the matter?" He said, "Khanom, it's a son, it's a son!" I said, "Oh, good for you," I thought he had a son. He said, "No, Khanom, our Shah has an heir." The people were so happy when they heard "an heir".

Then, very, very insidiously, they started having small rumors here and there. There was, you know, there was somewhere some people who were spreading these rumors. I remember they said that the young prince was deaf-mute. And then my husband used ... at the time when he was directing security, he used to have an audience with the Shah two times a week. And in summer it was in Sa'dabad, and he said ... where it was more relaxed ... "And this time the little boy was on his father's knee, and he spoke French, and he said this and that." I said, "I knew he wasn't mute." But I asked my husband, I said, "So he's not a mute?"

He said, "What is that?" I said, "Don't you know, you, head of security, that they have spread the rumor that the Shah cannot speak, and then they said that his hands were like those of a duck. And they said that the Queen's ears were so large that they had to cut them." They said absolutely anything, anything -- the most fantastic rumors. And they would spread them, let it remain in the people, and of course it <spread> from the higher rank of the society down to the smallest village; and it was embellished and enlarged and all that. There were many, many rumors, you know. It was fantastic. And we are always ready to believe everything, because I always say, "Don't forget that we are the country of a one thousand and one nights' tales." We like tales. Especially when they concern kings and queens and princesses.

Q. Did you ever meet Mr. Ala, Hossein Ala?

A. Yes, many times. You know, Hossein Ala was a kind of ... he was always in reserve whenever the government was upset, and until they found a new prime minister he would fill the interim. He was very nice. He was, you know, he was known for his puns, and he was, I think he was quite nice. In the last years of her life, I knew his wife very well -- and his mother. He was also a man of ... what we always called, you know, very courteous, very learned, and very nice.

Q. Do you know the circumstances under which he was sort of discharged from the Ministry of Court?

A. No. No, I don't remember. When was that?

Q. He said after the 15th of Khordad riots, he and some others had met together and had discussed...?

A. I don't, I don't know really. I wouldn't know. I really don't remember.

One thing I can tell you, because I know -- I knew, I mean, Ala, if not personally, I mean to speak to him or to discuss with him, he would never ... he was the type who wouldn't discuss with a woman of my age. He was of the old school. But I can tell you that I don't believe he was the type to intrigue against the Shah. I don't know. It was in '62, '63?

Q. This is what is said, yes.

A. I don't know, I really don't know.

Q. And Dr. Eghbal? Did you know him?

A. Ah! I knew him very, very well. He used to call me "Khanom, Khanom-ha" <lady of the ladies>. I met Dr. Eghbal first -- you know he was a physician, specialist in the parasitic diseases and he was ... he used to come to bring his patients to Najmiyeh Hospital. And at the time he became ... I used to pull his leg because he became minister of post and telegraph, and then he became minister of things that had nothing to with his specialty. And as a prime minister ... I wouldn't ... I know he remained a long time prime minister.

If he achieved anything special, I cannot say. At least he kept the country safe and sound. Whenever he was prime minister -- I think he became prime minister twice, I'm not sure -- people felt safe; and I mean every class of people, not only the top class. Things were running smoothly without any big declarations, big movements. I knew him very well. I'm glad he died before all the troubles started, because he was so devoted to his country and to public service. He was ambitious, that's sure.

I remember he had a terrible fight with Mansour, they nearly came to <a> fist fight at the reception at the officer's club. And a few days later there was a dinner party at the French Embassy, and I was seated beside him, and he described to me all that big trouble. And he said, "You know, it's fantastic! I trained Mansour. I made him what he was. How dare he to speak to me like that in public?"

Then after dinner he took me aside, on a small sofa, and the whole evening he talked to me. I was so embarrassed because I said, "My goodness, they will think that I'm ... he's speaking about my husband's job or something like that." And everybody was careful not to come near. And he said, "I will send you...." He said, "You know, I cannot stand to be humiliated like that. After all, I have held every high office in this country."

And the next day he sent me, by messenger, a booklet in three languages (French, English, and Persian) listing all his decorations, all his career and all that. And when we ... you know what we do, what we call "post-mortem" after the reception, my husband and I in the car, I told him, "You know what Dr Eghbal told me?" He said, "No, no, no. He didn't hold 'all the highest, higher offices in this country.' He never became chief-of-staff.!"

The key was, I think he ... when he had this fight with Mansour it was over the sudden increase of the price of kerosene and gas in the middle of winter. My husband was mad, because he went to the Shah and said, "How can you allow that, when people, three-quarters of this country, are heated, cook their food and everything with kerosene, with petrol and oil, allow them to increase it -- double it suddenly?" And there was an ECAFE <UN Economic Commission Asia Far East> conference in Tehran, and there was a reception for them. "And Eghbal told me that.... Mansour was prime minister of course. Eghbal went to Mansour and said, "You know, I think you've been a bit harsh. Don't you think that you should at least telephone to me as head of the National Oil Company to see if the time is good for such an increase?"

Q. You mean this was done without the knowledge of the head of the oil company, <the> head of the SAVAK?

A. No, no, no. No, no, no. Because my husband, he said.... I remember the Shah saw Hassan, and he said, "What have you done to the prime minister? He came almost crying here." And Hassan said, "Well, I had a big fight with him." Because Mansour used to tell me, "Khanom, I love your husband. If I had been a woman I would have snatched him from you." Well -- compliments.

My husband went to him and he made a big scene. He said, "I'm in charge of the security of this country. Do you know how much security depends on the well-being of people? And here you go, in the middle of the winter of Iran -- which is a very harsh and bad one -- increasing, doubling the price of oil, domestic oil and also of gas. Do you want a revolution?" And you know, people were so mad. There was a saying that taxi-drivers used to say: "I would like to drink Mansour's blood with a small spoon to last my pleasure." And he was assassinated by these Fada'iyan-e Eslam, which ... who are ... and nobody seems to attach any importance to that part of the Moslem brotherhood.


 Q. I find it amazing that such a decision could have been made without the knowledge of or consultation with these important people. Was this typical of what you had seen in Iran?

A. No, no, it wasn't. It was typical of Mansour but not of Iran. Mansour was extremely eager to become prime minister -- very, very eager. And he very cleverly, with his friends -- they called the Ccoat do chackD <jacket with two vents>, all these technocrats -- they spread the idea that the time of old-fashioned politicians, of the sage and the wise man, was over. The country must be run by technocrats on technical and economical lines. He was a specialist of economy, you know. And so he started ... he and his friends -- I wouldn't say that he did it or that he wrote a plan, black and white -- but that was the feeling before he became prime minister, that all the people like Eghbal, like Ala, like whoever, they were so ... you know, they were remains from the past, and they were too much subservient to the Shah's will. Not that they were revolutionaries, but they wanted....

You know, it's a fascinating thing to observe that everywhere in the country, somehow the less leftist people are proud to have leftist ideas. It gives them the feeling that they are very open-minded, which is a mistake. They're not open-minded, they're just victims of the good propaganda. Anyway, they spread this word: "Make the room for the young people, the young generation. Your time is over." Okay? So, it was ... it had come to the point that really, I would say, all this public opinion was shouting for Mansour to become prime minister. I would say it had come to the point that the Shah had no option except ... and the Shah apparently was with them. But again, it was ... at the time the Shah was wiser; he knew that reversing, you know, the whole thing, too fast was dangerous.

And so he.... Well, my husband agreed, everybody agreed that the price of ... the internal price of all the oil products was much, much too low. It wasn't fair, it wasn't ... they didn't dare to increase it because Mossadegh -- not Mossadegh himself, but his entourage -- had spread the word that if we nationalize oil, every Iranian will receive a can of oil for free and so much money for free. So all these products were ridiculously low in Iran. But still, you really have to choose your time. If they had done it in the middle of the summer, people wouldn't have felt it so much. But it was right in the middle of winter in Tehran.

Anyway, he had to go back, so he ... he gave decrees on this, I don't know. But that was a very, very bad impression and he put himself in terrible danger. Not so much for this oil question, but because he was too modern. And Fada'iyan-e Eslam, who had throughout the reign of our late Shah assassinated so many people, they decided they will assassinate him too.

Q. In about 1970, 1971, you were in...?

A. Paris.

Q. You were in Paris. If I remember correctly, that's the time when some of these assassinations, which later on we found out were the works of the Mojahedin and the Cherik-hay-e Fada'iy-e Khalg, began in Iran. Now your husband had been head of SAVAK for a number of years ... did he have any lingering interest in these questions? Was he troubled by these events in Iran? Did he have any thoughts on these things?

A. Of course he had. Of course he had. First of all because he was a great patriot. And to my shame, I found this out -- to what point he was a great patriot -- quite late in life. I thought he was like anybody, like all of us, I mean, loving our country. But his love of his country went beyond that, it went with a very high ideal of service, public service, and a very high ideal of the honor,as he said, of being an officer, a soldier. I really hadn't thought that, you know, that he was....

He was a militarist; he was a soldier in the beautiful sense of the word. He was very, very worried because ... well, he knew exactly, you know, he was a great specialist in all these subversion questions. He had studied the thing from close. And also because as, representative of the Shah and the government, he was constantly asked, you know....

Q. In France?

A. ....challenged. Although in France they loved him, they respected him very, very much, as I told you. But still, he was challenged, not as General Hassan Pakravan personally, but as the representative, as the official representative, of his country in France.

And he had to ... and he used to say that, "If you use violence, you will meet violence. If these young people don't want to ... obtain whatever they want.... First of all, we never knew what they wanted. You see, they never said what they wanted. And we know very well in other countries, where people have said that they will kill, and put bombs, and go into terroristic actions, it's to obtain democracy, it's not true. We know that for a fact -- it's not true at all, it's to establish another ... a very, very bad dictatorship."

So he was ... we were all of us, worried because, first of all, it's not very nice to see ... they don't do it now.... I told several of my newspaper friends, I said, "Whenever there was someone arrested, after they had thrown...." First of all, they always threw bombs in public places, killing innocent people. They never tried to kill an important person, never. Because those who killed important persons were not the Mojahedin, they were the Fada'iyan-e Eslam. They were the integrists <?>, the fanatical Moslems. So that was something which really didn't appeal to me, because I said, "If they really want to do ... to go for killing, why do they kill children? Why do they kill poor women? Why do they kill people who go about their business?"

Q. It sounds like he agreed with whatever response the government was giving to these problems.

A. No. He wasn't. You know, it was ... no, no, it wasn't that at all. I don't know what kind of response the government gave ... it was to arrest them, it was to put them to death. Most of the time they were killed in fighting, you know, in street fighting. But he was ... he never agreed with violence for violence's sake. He never agreed with the madness which led people to kill in order to solve problems. He thought it never solved anything. He thought that one has to go to the root: why? Naturally, these people don't realize that they were manipulated.

You know, it's very, very.... I think it's very ... at the same time it's a very simple and very complex question, this question of terrorism. Don't forget that it was the time when Mao Tse-Tung was extremely popular among all the youths of all the world. Don't forget that from '66, starting in America, until '72, '73, the whole world had ... was experiencing this trouble with its young people and the university people. You know, it was the same in Pakistan, it was the same in....

I remember at the time, I told my husband, I said, "Isn't this funny, Hassan, that this same kind of trouble is arising in countries as different as America, Pakistan, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon -- everywhere -- India, The Philippines? It's as if somebody orchestrated the whole thing." He said, "Yes, it looks like it, doesn't it?" And when I said that to French friends of mine, "Oh," they said, "Come on, come on. You are dreaming. Who is orchestrating that?" Arnaud de Borchgrave, the head of the CNewsweekD publication in France, he started ... he was the first one to start about this information ... that the Russians had invented ... and the orchestration. You know that they have proof now that all the peace movements, for instance, are -- without their own knowledge -- financed by the East.

Q. Did he ever discuss...?

A. People didn't understand.

Q. ....his successor, General Nasiri, as the head of SAVAK? What he thought of the way he was running the organization <unclear>?

A. My husband?

Q. Yes.

A. First of all, he had no ... he didn't really dislike ... it was a surprise that he was nominated, because when Alavi-Kia was sent to Germany, they decided, the Shah said that he wanted Fardoust to become the second-in-command, but with a title of CGha'em MaghamD <Deputy>. And my husband thought it was to prepare Fardoust to replace him eventually, because the head of SAVAK never stayed more than four years in his job. So he was a bit surprised when Nasiri was nominated.

Nasiri -- my husband liked him as a colleague. You know that he was ... he had no reputation for intelligence and not at all for any kind of intellectual achievement. He wasn't a man to read, he wasn't a man to.... And he was blindly devoted to the Shah. And he was of the same construction <?>, as the Mojahedin. You know? That means that people who think that brutal methods are better than other ways. It's the kind of attitude the Iranian fathers have with their children, "Khafeh sho," "shut up, you're not big enough to say anything." You know, "You're going to be put to bread and water." A child, a Persian child, when he's small, he has no right to do anything. He must obey. Well, it was a kind of transfer, you know. He said, "I am in authority. You are young people, you don't understand anything. Shut up or else."

So, we didn't have such a great respect for ... I don't think my husband approved; but he would never criticize in that, I mean, publicly. He had either to criticize publicly <or> resign. And some people reproached him, they said, "Why didn't you resign?" He said, "If all those who could have a kind of influence on the Shah and his policy resigned, then we'd leave the whole country to those who influence him in the bad direction."

Nasiri -- I don't know. I personally, I didn't like him very much. You see, there is one thing -- Nasiri didn't have a good reputation. There was a very sad story of -- I don't remember -- of a child of his being.... There were all kinds of stories running. I don't want to repeat them because I don't believe in spreading this. But there is one thing, you know. There is a saying, to say that the wife of Caesar must be above suspicion, which means that when you are in a responsible position, like the king, the Iranian king, the Shah, is, no matter what you know to the good of the people, you must also take into account their reputation, deserved or undeserved. But still, it's sad ... if somebody has a very, very bad reputation, you don't give him public responsibility.

I don't think that Nasiri was a bad man. I don't think he was a cruel man. I think he was.... You know many people are lazy, by which I mean that they prefer to settle immediately something rather than to think about it and to find other means. Do you know what I mean? And he was a military man in the not-so-good sense of the word, a disciplinarian, too strong. But I wouldn't say that he was a cruel man, I don't think he was. I think that the propaganda, again, against him was terrible.

Q. When your husband was director of SAVAK and you were in Tehran, was it difficult being married and in the public eye -- difficult in your daily life? Was it difficult being married to the person who was head of SAVAK?

A. Yes. I'll tell you in what way. Not in the way you think. It was difficult -- I'll give you a small example. I was shopping one day at CChahar Rah-e ManouchehriD <Manouchehr Junction>, and a bicycle.... And I was a customer there at these several shops. A bicycle, a cyclist, went by on the sidewalk, and he hurt me, and he wounded me, and I started to bleed. People jumped at him and caught him, and they said, "Khanom, we will send him to the police." I said, "No, please. Let him go."

Q. You had ... presumably you had guards with you?

A. No, never. Never, for heaven's sake! How awful! Never! The shopkeepers said, "Khanom, let's take him, grab him. Give him to the police." I said, "No, please don't." Then my driver said, "Khanom, we must do something." I said, "Please, don't." Anyway, I finished my job; we went home. I had a dressing on the wound. It was just a scratch, but it was bleeding freely. And the driver said, "Khanom, but why?" I said, "Look here. He was in the wrong because he was on the sidewalk. He hurt me, he wounded... But the moment the police learn who he has hurt, then I don't give much for the life of this poor fellow."

In that sense it was very bad. That wherever I went, it was the red carpet. It was ... you know I told you about this little welfare society that we wanted to establish, and in the end, I saw it was ... the whole project was stuck somewhere and they told me, stuck at the Ministry of the Interior. So I went with General Schtudach <?> there.

Q. Who?

A. General Schtudach. He was a general, he was the chief of the air service staff, he was retired. He was of Austrian origin. So we went there, and we were very badly received by a fat, big official. And I saw that really I had to do something. I never said who I was. I said, "Well, these regulations of ours have been through all the steps, including through the security organization, whose head is my husband, General Pakravan." The man jumped, you know: "Bring some chairs! Bring some tea! Khanom, why didn't you tell me?" I said, "Why, does it make any difference? I was the same person a few minutes ago when you received me so badly." I didn't say that, of course -- I thought it. I was so mad, you know. I was so mad.

And I remember also a remark I made to somebody who said, "Yes, His Excellency, in the high position that he occupies...." I said, "Please, I stop you right here. Don't make a mistake. His Excellency ...," I made that, you know, I said, "My husband never becomes someone because of his position. His position gets some credit because my husband is at the head of it. Do you understand that?" I said, "Whether my husband is at the head of something or not, he'll still be the man he is." But unfortunately, whenever they ask him....

You know, it's funny, I realized that years later.... You know the story of Hercules and the stables of the King Augeus, that he went to clean? Whenever some organization caught for itself a very bad reputation, my husband was called to mend it. When it was mended, he was sent somewhere else. It was the same as Chief G-2; it was the same for the Organization of Security; it was the same for the Ministry of Information -- it was, less perhaps. It was the same for the ambassador to Pakistan. Because the Shah said to my husband, "You know, I'm sending you to Pakistan because the Pakistanis complain that we always send second-rate ambassadors. And this is a mission I give to you. You must reestablish our good relationship, because Pakistan is very important for us." The same in Paris. You see?

Q. You know, years later there was this event where I believe that Mr. Sabeti's wife had gone to a store....

A. Yes, I know, I know, I know. This was horrible.

Q. How did you feel when you heard about that?

A. I was absolutely mad. I was in Iran. I was the madder that the man who killed that young man had been our guard when my husband was head of the organization. We had two guards. Not at the same time -- you know, they were on shifts. And his name was Ja'fari. Well, Sabeti was the man who said, "Moghtaziyat-e zaman" <the expediency of the time>. Remember I told you?

Q. I realized that.

A. And I knew the people. I mean through other people, I knew whose ... this young man was CfianceD -- to be married. He accompanied his future mother-in-law and his future wife to the Charles Jordan <shoe shop> (which was not a real Charles Jordan anyway). And, as I was told the story, Madame Sabeti was there. I never met her -- if I had, I don't remember her. And that's ... when you asked me if I had guards wherever I went, she had guards. She chose some shoes, and when she came to pay, she realized that her purse was not there ... in her bag, I mean. Her money bag was not there. So she started to make a big to-do, and the shop-owner, knowing who she was, closed all the doors. And he said, "Nobody...." No, no, not the shopkeeper -- this guard came in and he said, "Close all the doors and we are going to search people." The lady, the future mother-in-law, said, "We have finished our business. We have not stolen anything. We are respectable people. We are going to go out." He said, "No, you cannot go out." And he stopped them at the door, which was a big glass pane. And he, the fiance, saw that from the car, so he jumped to rescue his fiancee, and the other man just took out his gun and he shot.

And there were the funerals, the ceremonies -- you know. And the woman was so sorry, she wanted to go -- to attend. Stupid woman, she wanted to attend the funerals.

Q. Madame Sabeti?

A. Yes. And they told her, "Khanom, come if you want. But if you come, you must know you will be torn to pieces." And what shocked me even more was that they arrested Ja'fari. How could...?

Q. They arrested him?

A. They arrested Ja'fari, the man who shot the young man. You see? Whereas he wasn't responsible. He was given a gun, and he said, "You guard Madame Sabeti. If anything happens to her, you shoot." That's right. It was as plain as that. Otherwise he wouldn't have shot. Why he never shot anybody when he was in my house. He didn't even have a gun, I believe.

So, I remember ... that was one of the things that you must put as one of the causes of the Iranian revolution. I was so mad. I told my husband, I said, "Go and see the Shah. Please, go and see him. Tell him that the whole truth must be told. Sabeti must be arrested, and his wife, and the shop-owner, everybody. And this man, of course, because he obeyed, he was just a pawn." I said, "You must. The whole town knows the truth. Why hide it?" I was very mad, I must say. And I was so mad, that when there was a dinner party arranged at the club -- the fantastic club made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Dezashib <district> -- I saw the list and I told the host, I said, "If you sit me beside Sabeti, I will never speak to you again." And I turned my back, I was never sitting beside him. I was sitting away, and whenever he addressed me I showed him my shoulder.

Q. Did your husband decide to speak to the Shah about this?

A. I don't remember. I know that he was also very, very mad. Perhaps he did. Perhaps he did. I don't know. It was a time when I.... No, no, no. He was in hospital. That's right, I didn't say that to him. It was when he had his heart attack. I don't remember exactly the dates. No, no, no.

Q. When you came back from France, then what post did your husband have?

A. Well, you know, there were many rumors when he was in France. First of all, people said, you know, that according to the Iranian regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a man is nominated for four years, and he can have an extra year and funnily enough, I don't know why, in another place -- which is stupid, because you don't nominate someone one year ambassador anyway.

So we had already two years, three years, in Pakistan, and when the Shah insisted that he wanted Hassan, because Hoveida said, "You know, I keep on asking His Majesty to make Pakravan ... Hassan minister and he refuses, he says, 'I need him.' I tell His Majesty I need Pakravan. He said, 'I need him even more than you.'" Fortunately I don't know how far, how true it is.

Anyway, the Shah insisted that my husband should become ambassador in Paris. But we thought it was only for two years, according to regulations. But he told Ardeshir Zahedi -- that Ardeshir Zahedi told me himself -- "I don't know, you manage with your regulations. I want Pakravan to stay the whole four years in Paris." So we stayed the whole four years in Paris -- even a little bit more, a few days more.

But the rumors started immediately: "Ah, you know your husband is being recalled." I said, "Look here, my husband should have been two years in Paris. It's been four years." And my husband always said you had to ... I mean, to respect regulations or else what was the point of having them? So they said ... and they started to, "Ah, (you know), your husband will be recalled because he's going to be made prime minister." This sort of thing. "He's going to be recalled to be made minister of foreign affairs." And I had prepared a reply. I said, "Look here. My husband is an army man, although retired. So a general is supposed to prepare war -- or at least to prevent war. The minister of foreign affairs is supposed to make peace between us. So how can you have an army man at the head of the ministry?" Things like that to try to make people stop their stupid rumors.

Anyway, my husband thought ... he had been for years, you know, in public service, he thought he would retire and retire in Paris, because he liked France very much. Then he had to go back to Iran to settle ... I mean, he couldn't just say goodbye. He had to go and see the Shah, make his final report, and all that. And we had a piece of land there and he said, "You know, I would like to build this house."

And the Shah ... everybody thought that he would be made at least senator. And he was made ... he received the job of that famous Boushehri I told you about. It was 'Moshaver-e Aliy-e Darbar', high counselor of the Ministry of Court. And my husband just hated the job, you know, because it was ... he had the feeling that he could be so useful, and that it was just, you know, a job just to get a salary and nothing else. So he asked to have his office somewhere downtown because he couldn't stand these goings and comings in the Court and all this gossiping and all that. He was there.

And then he had his heart attack. And eventually, in the end, I would say at the end of this, or the end of the summer of 1978, he was.... First of all, here I must say that throughout ... when the trouble started in Iran, now and then somebody would telephone or call at the house or in his office, "Please, General, go and say this, and this, and this to the Shah." Or they came to our house, "Please, you must go to the Shah. You are the only person that he will listen to." And my husband would say, "No. No, no, no. The Shah doesn't see me. He never receives me. I am quite put aside." So one day, I told him, I said, "Now why do you say such things? First of all, it's undignified, because we live in the Persian society. If you say that you are out of favor, people will add to it and say that you've been kicked out. And secondly, you haven't tried. Ask for an audience. If he refuses, okay, then you'll resign and we'll go back to Paris."

It's funny, that in some cases he was very shy, you know.

So he went to the Shah. And the Shah.... He asked for an audience, and the Shah immediately agreed, and he stayed quite a long time. And when he came back, he was so upset, so moved, you know. And he wasn't a man to show his feelings, he had very, very good control of himself. He said, "You know, I've never been so touched in my life." He said, "You know, I've been working with the Shah closely since both of us were young men." He said, "It's the first time he asked me personal questions -- he never did. He asked about you and all the children by name. He made personal remarks -- he never did that." He said, "You know, I think he likes me quite well." I said, "Of course he likes you." So I told him. He said, "I said this and that...."

The really important thing he told him.... We had been on a trip to Kashan, and we had to cross the famous south of Tehran. I couldn't believe my eyes! I just couldn't believe my eyes. The conditions in which people lived! You know, it was incredible! They lived, some of them, in pens, completely patched up -- with pieces of nylon on it. The open-air ... canals were heaped with dirt, garbage. The water was black, smelly. You could not imagine what it was. You cannot visualize that. And that was worrying my husband so much, so the first thing he said, he said....

Q. When was the last time you had seen that? I mean, the time before that?

A. Seventies, I think. Well, I wasn't in Tehran for many years, you know.

Q. So you hadn't seen it for many years?

A. No. We had gone to...? I had predicted right. I said that it will be ... go from bad to worse. It was in '76 or '77 that we went on this trip to Tabaz -- not Tabaz, Natanz and Kashan -- I don't remember. Anyway, the important thing is that we were terribly worried, and my husband told him in that first audience. He said, "You know, this is how the people live there." He said, "If you're not going to do immediately something, from a human point of view, do it for your own safety. Because this is a powder keg. Two million people living like that in your capital city is going to explode and we'll all be swept by the explosion." And he showed photographs to the Queen the next day. It was too late, too late, too late. There is a book written by Alan Paton called Too Late the Phalarope.

Q. Too Late ... what?

A. The Phalarope. Phalarope is a South African bird. Anyway. So after that, the Shah saw my husband very often. And this is where he said ... he said, "You know, the Shah, my impression is that the Shah, whenever he sees me, is like a man who drowns and sees some safety, you know, to which to cling." Then he would come ... one day, he said, "He's completely flattened." I said, "What do you mean?" We always spoke French. "Applaque, <is> what I mean, flattened." He said, "You know, he saw the present. He said, "One day he says, 'I'm going all the way to democracy. I'm going to give total freedom. I think that we've made a terrible mistake. We'll have free elections, we'll have free press, we'll have freedom of expression, freedom of everything, criticism and everything. It's time to have it.' Next day he'll be completely crushed by the hatred, you know, because he knew about the criticism, he knew about the grudge, he knew about everything. The only thing that really killed him was the hatred. Because until a few weeks ago he was loved and people looked up to him."

So the last measure to save the house was to nominate my husband <to be> in complete charge of all the administration and finance of the Ministry of Court. And he was mad, he didn't like it. He said....

Q. This was when Hoveida was there or Ardalan?

A. No, no. Hoveida wasn't. No, no. It was Ali-Gholi Ardalan.

And he said, "I've become ... finished my career as chief accountant of this." I said, "Darling, you're not the chief accountant." They always used my husband for his good name -- in all sincerity, you know, not to camouflage.

Q. Why did he accept this?

A. It was his sense of service. I mean, he said, "Poor Ardalan, I cannot drop him, poor old man." And everybody congratulated him because they thought he was ... he's become -- people are so stupid. All these ranks and positions -- he didn't care about that. But one day he came, he was absolutely mad. He said to the king, he said, "You know, Majesty, I don't want any interference." Because there were several families, since the time of the late Shah, the other Shah, who had, you know, a strong hold over all the activities of the Shah, so much so that one day my husband said, "You know...." He came back from the office, he said, "You know, we don't have one Shah." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "We have at least twelve of them. And the weakest is the one who wears the crown."

Q. The "weakest"?

A. The "weakest". That's what my husband said. I'll never forget it. Because all these, you know, the several families were all the time, traditionally, in the Court. They really did exactly as they wished.

Q. You mean, the sisters and brothers?

A. No, no, no -- officials.

Q. Really?

A. Yes, like the Behbehanis, people like that. They would never give up. And my husband had to fight, which he hated, because the order was that no expense in the Court, no kind of project or anything could go directly to the Shah, but go through my husband. And he had to agree to something fantastic. He said, "You know, they are renovating, I don't know what, for 30 million tomans." I said, "But why?" He said, "How can I refuse it now, it's almost finished and the man must be paid." But sheer madness in this situation that we had.

But the Behbehanis still went over his head to the minister of Court to have ... approve some projects. And my husband was very, very mad. And in the end, when I told him over the phone, I said, "Darling, you know Khomeini is coming back. Please, please leave! Leave, leave!" He said, "How can I leave? All these people of the Court, they have nobody but Ardalan and me." And by this he meant the drivers, the gardeners, the cooks, the bakers, all this small population of the Court who were left high and dry without a pension, without any future -- in danger perhaps. So he stayed.

Q. You were here?

A. No, I was still in Tehran. Yes, when I telephoned him, I was still here. He took me to Paris. I told you, he insisted that I should come to Paris to be with the children, and I refused. I said, "No, I will never leave you." And he pretended that he had to see his heart specialist because he was having fifteen of these heart pills, you know. So he brought me and, in order to really not be suspicious, he brought me a return ticket. So we came to Paris, and stayed ten days, and then he went. That was the last time I saw him.

Q. This was when, in November?

A. November of '78 -- 21st of November of '78. We arrived here on the 12th, on the 21st he went back and....

Q. Had Hoveida been arrested then?

A. Oh, Hoveida had been arrested long before that. Hoveida was arrested under the Shah.

Q. What did he say about that?

A. Well, he was.... One day I was in Tehran. That is something historical. One day, there was a man who telephoned all the time from France Inter. I didn't know he was telephoning from Paris. And he kept on ringing, "I want to speak to His Excellency." I said, "Well, he's not here." My husband had left in the morning, and then his driver, his official driver came home, had a snack, and I said "Where is Teamsar?" He said, "He's at the Court. I have to go back there." And it lasted and went on and on and on and on. He came back at eight o'clock.

And the man telephoned again. And my husband -- we were having dinner -- he laughed, he said, "No, no, no, Monsieur Paul E. Vincent <?>, I am nothing, I'm nothing at all. You ask the prime minister. You ask the minister of foreign affairs. I am just the accountant of the Court." And he laughed and laughed. I said, "Why do you say that?" He said, "Because I don't like this job. I will ... after I settle everything, I will resign. It's ridiculous. I am an officer. I am a soldier." He said -- and that was when he surprised me -- he said, "You know, of all the positions I held in my life, the only one of which I am proud is to be a soldier." I said, "Really? But you were not ... you didn't become an officer out of conviction, you had become <one> because your father wanted you to." He said, "Yes, but I think it's a very, very ... there is a great honor in being a soldier."

So I said, "What's the matter? What happened?" He said, "Oh, you don't know. We had a meeting with several people and with the Queen -- and she's a lioness, that woman -- she wants to see all kinds of measures and do this and that and that to stop this nonsense of the subversion." And he said one of the measures that was taken was to arrest Hoveida. I said, "And so?" He said, "I was against it."

Q. This was a meeting with the Queen, without the Shah?

A. Yes. The Shah was in his office. Whenever they had ... one of the men who was there was Seyyed Mehdi Pirasteh. He told me, he came to see me before he left for -- I don't know where.

Q. Canada.

A. Canada, I think. He said, "Whenever we used to go to the office of the Shah, we stood ... I stood on the threshold and I said, 'Majesty, we don't enter your office because we are afraid of your ire, so we want to have a way to rush back.'" And the Shah was very, very upset.

I don't know who decided on that, my husband was very upset. He said, "All right, do you think it's necessary?"

Q. Who said this, the Shah?

A. The Shah. Who was there? There was an army officer -- I must remember his name -- who said, "Majesty, it is more necessary than the bread for tonight." You know there is an expression in Persian: "as nan-e shab vajebtar ast".

Q. Could it have been <Nasser> Moghaddam?

A. No, I think it was Oveisi. And the Shah said, "All right." Because Hoveida was universally hated, you know. He was hated -- it was fantastic. So my husband and Hoveida knew each other since they were children. And the Shah said, "All right, but then let General Pakravan tell him that, that he's arrested." My husband said, "Never! I will never do that. I am against it. I will never do it." So the Shah was very courageous, and he took the phone and he telephoned himself to Hoveida.

Q. Really?

A. "It has been decided by a committee here in the palace that you have to be arrested." He said, "All right. Arrest me." And later on, I learned by the senator who was in prison with my husband, that Hoveida ... Hoveida was very fond of my husband. I think he was the only person he trusted, really, because he said many, many things to my husband he wouldn't say to anybody else. He, the senator, said, "You know, Hoveida used to send books in French to your husband." Very often they spoke, when they were ... when nobody was there, they spoke in French. "And then when the books stopped coming, we guessed that he must have been liquidated."

So it was ... he was arrested under the Shah. And when they emptied the prisons, he was left all alone, but that is ... everybody knows that. And he telephoned to the responsible people: "Here I am." He never thought of.... He was ... you know he was a very interesting personality. My daughter worked for him for three years as <his> personal secretary. He was a very ... my sister knew him very well. I think in a way he was a great man, because he didn't pay any attention to anything, you know. He said why should he have the humiliation of hiding himself or running away? My husband had the same mentality.

They came to see me, some people who worked in the Ministry of Information. Ershad Melli <Ministry of National Guidance> had seen the list with my husband's name, and they came and begged him to come to their house or to go somewhere. He said, "No." Alavi-Kia, must have told you. He told Alavi-Kia, "Take your wife and children and go away from here." He said, "Teamsar, what about you?" He said, "I must stay here even though I am killed, even to the price of my life." He would never flee. Never, never, never.

Q. When did they seize him? Your....

A. Well, I have told you, I think, before ... when we started, that Khomeini is an unforgivable <unforgiving> man -- the more he owes someone, the more he hates him, and he owed everything to my husband: his title of Ayatollah, his life, everything -- his good treatment when he was arrested.

Now of course, the rumor ... but I don't want, I want to say exactly what we know, what my son tells me, what my son-in-law, Naderzad.... Young people were very fond of my husband, and he understood them very well. So he took some friends that Friday, the 16th of February, 1979, to our house -- my son was not there -- for lunch. And they had a wonderful time. Then my husband -- after his heart attack, <he> tired easily -- at 3:30 he told them, "I want to rest, please." So they went.

At five o'clock he got up to go the kitchen to get a glass of water and he said... There was lots of noises outside, shouting and all that -- he said to our servant, "What's the matter?" So he came back, this young man, pale. He said, "Teamsar, they've come to take you away." And he told me, he said, "You know, His Excellency took the glass, he never took the trouble to put on shoes, walked out with his slippers. And when they saw him, they were so full of respect." He wanted to console me, poor man: "They were so respectful. They bowed to him, they opened the door." And he said, "I ran after the car because it was the end of winter, very cold, and he had gone without a coat or anything." I said, "And then what happened?" ""Well, they stopped the car and took his coat to him. And I was crying."

He didn't say a word. They took him to a committee at Kashanak and from there to Madreseh-e Alavi.

When my son came back, he was told that his father was arrested. He immediately rushed to his brother-in-law, and they tried every place. They said, "We don't know. Go to Madreseh-e Alavi." They went there; they took some clothes and his medicine, and the man in charge refused it, and said, "No, no, we have everything for him. And besides, he's not arrested at all. Who said he was arrested? He is the guest of Ayatollah. We want to ask him a few questions about the Court, not about...." You see how clever: "....not about the time when he was head of security or ambassador or anything, or minister of information -- the Court. It's a matter of a few days."

But then, I told you, this cousin of Hoveida saw him. They blindfolded him and took him on the steps. And then all the lies started.

My son told me there is a very nice guard there. He says that, "I see sometimes ... he brings me little notes from my father. He says that Daddy is not in prison, but in the infirmary. That he looks after him, he's on a nice bed. He brings the barber every other day. He washes his clothes, he gives him very good food, and the doctor is always there in attendance."

My husband used to write little notes and this fellow would bring <them to> my son and give them <to him>. Rendezvous in very, very complicated places -- at such-and-such place, you know. And he would insist that he tears <up> the little notes, so we don't have anything from my husband. Every time, my husband would say, "Give him 500 tomans, give him ... he's very nice to me."

But actually, I heard from the senator who was with him, he said, "It wasn't at all like that. He wasn't at all. He was straightaway, after a few days, put into prison, with no mattress, no bedding, nothing." You remember seeing images, photos, of Hoveida, but he was at least on a mattress. My husband was on the floor. It was the Red Cross, International Red Cross, after a month bribed them to give bedding to the prisoners.

I said, "But who was this nice man?" He said, "Oh well, there was ... there was a man whom we used to give money. He was a little better than the others. We used to give him money to buy books for us. And he refused. He brought us religious books. But your husband wanted Masnavi." It's funny -- funny because my husband had never ... was never interested in poetry, even in French poetry.

Then the senator told me that he asked him to teach him Turkish, because the senator was from Azarbaijan, and also to read poetry to him, Masnavi especially. And he said, "He told me, 'Read me a part and at nine o'clock every night, ask me to recite it to you.'" And he said, "He recited it perfectly."

Then he did something which I never told anybody. He went on a hunger strike. He said ... he told this senator who was showing him the photos of his wife and his children, "Are you very fond of them?" He said, "Yes." He said, "Are you going to swear to keep secret what I'm going to tell you? I have to tell you something." And the senator told me, he said, "You know, I had never met your husband. I said, 'My God, it's true. He has a very, very good reputation, but still he was head of SAVAK. Perhaps he did something he wants to confess to me.'" He said, "Okay." He said, "I'm going to go on hunger strike, but I don't want it to be known. It's not as a protest. It's as a discipline. I know the world championship was 49 days (I think) or 45 days. I want to see if I can break it."

So, he said he went on for 35 days, drinking nothing but water and tea without sugar. He said, "One day I put sugar in his tea -- he would refuse it." And it surprises me, because my husband liked tea and coffee very, very sweet. He said, "And you know, he was fantastic. He was a hero. He was a saint. He's a martyr. But he is a saint." I said, "How come?" He said, "He was so detached, he had reached such high, such a high spiritual level, I was amazed." He said, "You know, one day he smiled, he said, 'It's funny. I've never lived in such ... even in the army, in such complete CdenuementD <how do you say? -- 'nothing'>. No kind of material comfort at all, the worst possible material conditions. I know what's going to happen to me -- it will be the machine gun. But I've never felt so well.' He said, 'I've not been eating for 35 days and I feel perfectly well.'" But one thing -- he started to smoke, which was that he knew that he was going to be condemned.

Because my son told me -- because, you know, somehow all the secrets come out -- that the interrogator told somebody, who told my son, that when they opened his file, his so-called file ... they never allowed my son to see him, because they said the instructions were going ... the inquiries were going on. It wasn't true, because when they opened his file, there was only one piece of paper. And that was the testimony of a young man, who had been arrested under my husband and who gave a testimony to the human<e> treatment that he had and how General Pakravan released him very soon -- had him released very soon.

So he knew. And he said, he said <the senator>: "Three days ... for what I understood later was his execution, then he was taken from my cell and I never heard of him."

Now, any other questions?

http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~iohp/pakravan4.html

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